Searching for Sugar Man

'Searching for Sugar Man'

SXSW Film Reviews

Searching for Sugar Man

24 Beats Per Second
D: Malik Bendjelloul

You should really stop reading this right now. Not kidding. It isn't that Searching for Sugar Man's plot developments are gotcha!-like, necessarily, but this documentary does boast some bowl-you-over reveals best experienced blind. In his first feature, Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul treks his camera to South Africa to investigate the legend of the singer-songerwriter Rodriguez (one rumor had him committing self-immolation onstage). An icon in South Africa – his music became anthemic for the anti-apartheid Voëlvry movement – Rodriguez was a bust in his native America, a Detroit street poet in cool-cat shades whose music, sampled generously here, recalls Donovan, Dylan, and Nick Drake and was received rapturously by critics, but never caught on. The story of Rodriguez's stumble and – for the love of Pete, spoiler alert! – triumphant redemption is engrossing stuff; the gladdening coda continues at tonight's post-screening South by Southwest Music midnight showcase at Mohawk.

Wednesday, March 14, 9:30pm, Paramount
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