Monday, October 21, 2013
"Searching for Sugar Man": The humble life of songwriter Sixto Rodriquez
“Searching for Sugar Man”, by Mark Bendjelloul, tells the humble story of singer Sixto Rodriquez, born and native to Detroit, MI, who wrote and recorded two songs in the 1960s and then dropped out of the music world after the music didn’t sell, worked in manual labor, lived modestly, and ran for city council once. But he became popular in South Africa, and only learned of his overseas form when his daughter found a fan website for him.
The film also tells the story of the two big South African fans, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew, to track him down, and disprove the urban legend that Sixto had passed.
Visually, the 86 minute film (winner of Best Documentary at the 2013 Oscar) is striking, comparing the looks of a shredded, wintery Detroit with a modern, expansive Capetown, with its left-side driving and constant views of Table Mountain – a city much larger than I had thought.
The music is somewhat familiar, and the instrumental portions of Sixto’s music are quite striking in their simplicity.
The official site from Sony is here.
I watched the film from a Netflix rental DVD. But instant play is not available yet, and the YouTube rental is $12.99 (when $3.99 is a more typical price).
Picture: downtown Detroit, Aug. 2012, my visit