Sunday, October 21, 2012
"SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN"
Today I saw for the second time a fascinating documentary film called Searching for Sugarman, and I think there is a very good chance the film will be nominated for an Academy Award.
The story is about an American musician -- Rodriguez, a singer -- who recorded two albums in the 1970s while living and performing in two-bit clubs in Detroit, Michigan. Both albums were flops, so Rodriguez returned to obscurity and continued working in blue collar jobs like heavy construction and building demolition. In the meantime, bootlegged copies of his albums began circulating in apartheid-ridden South Africa, and over the next two decades Rodriguez became more famous in that country than Elvis Presley. Despite his popularity, no one in South Africa knew who Rodriguez was or that he was even American. It was generally believed in South Africa that Rodriguez had died by setting himself on fire during an onstage performance. What made his music so popular was, like Bob Dylan in the '60s and '70s, Rodriguez's music had anti-establishment overtones, which gave young people in South Africa permission to question, demonstrate and eventually rebel against apartheid, a political system that supported crimes against humanity.
This movie may wind up as one of those poignant word-of-mouth blockbusters. I feel that seeing the film with as little information as possible is a gift that I don't want to spoil by giving too much of the story away.
I hope you will search for this film in your local theaters and see it as soon as you can. I can say without hesitation that you won't be disappointed. It's one of the best films I've seen in a very long time.