Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reacting to Sugar Man

This film has had too many awards to mention, but the latest is an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary. Don’t miss it! I spoke to a couple of men last night after the show and they both said that they had to fight back tears. I wondered myself while watching what the huge emotion was that I was feeling. It is the story of a musician from Detroit by the name of Rodriguez who made a couple of albums in the 70s which went absolutely nowhere in the U.S. but who became a hero for a whole generation of South African youth. Many South Africans interviewed claimed that he was more popular than Elvis but that no one knew anything about him. It had been rumoured that he had died by setting himself on fire at a concert.

Two intrepid South African fans decided to investigate the trajectory of their hero. It is a beautiful bittersweet story, and the collage of his life is a wonder to watch. But the music– well, the best way I can describe it, and it doesn’t do it justice, is a combination of James Taylor and Bob Dylan.  His playing and singing is so grounded and his lyrics so thoughtful that you give yourself up to some indefinable feeling. Of course, what he did with the money when he toured South Africa only adds to your admiration and longing that there be more characters in the world like Rodriguez! The sound track is available in the bookstore.

- Barb

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