Monday, October 22, 2012


Searching for Sugar Man" is a documentary in search of a subject - Sixto Rodriguez - a young Mexican American singer in the 1970's who lived in Detroit Michigan and sang in local bars with his back to the audience. That alone would be the beginning of a legend. Detroit is beautifully filmed - the sounds of crunching snow underfoot and the light of the city are as mysterious as the subject of this film.

Why search for Rodriguez? His two albums which were enthusiastically reviewed in USA bombed. Very few people knew or know of him. BUT ironically he became a large hit and influence in South Africa to the point (according to the filmaker) where his songs were a catalyst among the youth in the fight against Apartheid. Since there were only the two albums available, and no tabloid documentation on Rodriguez, myths sprung up about the artist including suicide by immolation or a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head during a concert.

Rodriguez was a total unknown - no mass publicity, no articles in magazines, etc - just an artist making his art in isolation. AND that is the crux of this film. It speaks to all of us who work and work with an occasional wave that breaks our way - but mainly living our lives doing what we need to do unknown with little or no support commercially. Even though personally after years of making art, I felt saddened, I also felt vindicated by seeing this film.

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