The Oscar award-winning "Searching for Sugar Man" documents a journey to uncover the mystery of how a man touted as a musical genius of his generation faded into obscurity in the early 1970s.
American-Mexican songwriter/singer Rodriguez recorded his debut album Cold Fact with two heavy-weight producers, including Motown legend Dennis Coffey. Despite the album achieving critical acclaim, it was a commercial flop. The artist was hastily dropped from his label and bizarre, unconfirmed rumours circulated over an alleged suicide on stage. He simply disappeared into obscurity.
But a bootlegged copy of the album made its way to South Africa and Rodriguez became a household name and an icon for a growing movement against Apartheid.
The film not only showcases this poetic musicians' talents and body of work, it journeys to South Africa to observe the impact of Rodriguez's music and attempts to locate where his record sales and royalties may have also "disappeared". It seeks to find out just what really happened to the man. Was he still alive?
Coupled with a beautiful soundtrack and a focus on an incredibly humble, talented and mysterious poet/musician, this film is mesmerising. It makes you want to buy the album and delve in Rodriguez's insightful lyrics and haunting compositions.
I love this film. Everyone should see it - especially anyone who appreciates true artistry, mystery - and most of all, humility.
Footnote: After speaking to everyone I know about this film and Rodriguez, I have discovered he was also extremely popular in Australia. Not sure why the filmmakers didn't highlight this fact as well. Perhaps the Australian connection explains why the song Sugar Man is so very familiar to me ...