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Review: Searching for Sugar Man

The freshman film from Malik Bendjelloul
By BRETT MICHEL  |  August 8, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

An obscure, forgotten singer-songwriter, Sixto Rodriguez was first discovered in a Detroit bar by celebrated producers Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore in the late '60s. That's already more than you need to know before seeing the freshman film from Swedish documentarian Malik Bendjelloul, who follows the story of two South African Rodriguez fans (record retailer Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and music journalist Craig Bartholemew) who set out to find out what really happened to their hero, who — legend has it — killed himself onstage, either with a well-placed bullet or the strike of a match. The reality of the '70s music-scene relic's resurrection is even stranger. While Rodriguez's debut album, Cold Fact, would bomb, it had a wider impact than anyone in America could have known. Through a mix of standard talking-head interviews, animated sequences, and archival footage, Bendjelloul unlocks a mystery, painting a compelling portrait of a hidden rock icon.

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 See all articles by: BRETT MICHEL