Star finally gets to shine
THIS superb documentary tells the incredible story of an obscure American musician who never discovered he had become a superstar in another country.
Known only as Rodriguez, the subject of this intriguing film was a gifted singersongwriter who plied his trade briefly in the early 1970s.
At his barely detectable peak, the Mexicanborn troubadour played a handful of small clubs in his home town of Detroit, released two albums that never troubled the charts and then disappeared for good.
While Rodriguez ( pictured) seemingly vanished off the face of the earth, his debut record, Cold Fact, miraculously became a monster seller in South Africa almost a decade after it first surfaced.
The quiet rebellion and haunting selfreflection that defined Rodriguez’s songs struck a powerful chord in a nation virtually collapsing in upon itself during the heaviest days of the apartheid regime.
With no biographical information at hand and no Wikipedia to check, Rodriguez became something of a mystical musical prophet to his far- flung fanbase.
The disturbing tale of Rodriguez’s death – unable to be verified, nor dismissed, as only the best urban myths are – simply served to magnify his iconic status in South Africa.
Aside from belatedly introducing a major artist few of us would be familiar with, the impact achieved by Searching for Sugar Man is derived from the simplicity of its approach.
The many South African talking heads that contribute to the doco are not merely rabid fans. The music of Rodriguez meant the world to them during a dark period in their lives.
However, now the clouds have parted, Rodriguez’s work has lost none of its relevance nor ability to transfix and captivate.
Now showing State Cinema