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Past Films

Searching for Sugar Man

  • Director: Malik Bendjelloul
  • Genre(s): Documentary
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 86 min

Searching for Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ’70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late ’60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez. (Sony Pictures Classics)

"This is a real-life fairy tale with a remarkably happy ending."
- Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"A fresh and unexpected documentary that plays like a nail-biting mystery and a ticket to ride the whirlwind where art and commerce do battle."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"A hugely appealing documentary about fans, faith and an enigmatic Age of Aquarius musician who burned bright and hopeful before disappearing."
- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"Director Malik Bendjelloul expertly paces this strange and moving film, half mystery and half meditation on art, fame, the music biz and the definition of a meaningful life."
- Sara Stewart, New York Post
"The information they eventually dislodge about Rodriguez suggests a secular saint, a deeply good man, whose music is the expression of a blessed inner being. I hope you're able to see this film. You deserve to. And yes, it exists because we need for it to."
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
""Searching" has emotional valleys and zeniths, and gasp-inducing turns, as old friends, fans and Rodriguez's grown daughters are interviewed."
- Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle
"A musical detective story, this enthralling documentary focuses on a little-known American musician whose haunting voice and poetic lyrics were essentially unknown in his own country, but had a massive impact across the globe."
- Claudia Puig, USA Today
"The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction saga has been a hit on the festival circuit, winning top documentary prizes at Sundance for Sweden's Bendjelloul. What sets Searching for Sugar Man apart, though, is the way in which the filmmaker preserves a sense of mystery in the telling."
- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

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