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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

Searching for Sugar Man: The Musical Mystery of Rodriguez

By Published: August 4, 2012
"Searching for Sugar Man," directed by Malik Bendejelloul, a Stockholm-based director, producer and editor who has worked on many music-based documentaries, is the riveting story of the humble beginnings of Rodriguez's career and amazing journey that two fans took to find him. The use of Rodriguez's music in the film is poignant and a beautiful showcase to his timeless talent. Sony Classics worked with Sony's Legacy Recordings to put out the soundtrack in a highly unusual deal, involving more people than is the norm. Rodriguez's music was completely unavailable in the U.S. until 2008, when the small Seattle label Light in the Attic Records re-released Cold Fact under a licensing pact with Clarence Avant, who founded Sussex Records and who owns Rodriguez's catalog. The end result of this collaboration behind the scenes produced a 14 track CD that encapsulates the best of Rodriguez's earlier two albums. Fans around the U.S. can enjoy Rodriguez when he is featured in August on "The Late Show With David Letterman."

As for Rodriguez, he seems to be quietly enjoying his newly celebrated fame with performances to enthusiastic audiences. Recently, he appeared at the prestigious New York Times Center in New York City for a special screening, discussion and performance, in collaboration with the Sundance Institute and joined on stage by the film's director Bendejelloul. Received by a standing ovation from a crowd clearly moved by the film, Rodriguez exudes a Zen vibe and discusses the philosophy degree that took him ten years to complete. He doesn't seem to harbor any ill will about the royalties that were paid but never made their way to him. In fact, he has given away much of the money he has made since being brought back into the spotlight to family and friends, opting to keep his very basic, simple lifestyle. Fame has obviously not changed him and the joy on his face when he performs "Like Janis" is evident. He explains that the song was about a girl he knew named Janis, whose kisses "tasted like tobacco, which isn't always a bad thing." He seemed to blush at the memory, a gentleman from an era gone by.


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