Movie Review | Barry Ronge

This excellent, poignant documentary is about a man who spent his life and his talent in a search for fame, which he only ever found it one country – South Africa. It’s a fascinating documentary with, perhaps, a touch too much sentimentality, but the uniqueness of the story keeps you engrossed. It’s one of those stories that sound like urban legends but they turn out to be genuinely – and surprisingly – factual.

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  1. I’m a South African who discovered Cold Fact in 1985. It’s very difficult to try and find words to express what I thought of Searching For SugarMan – the movie about Rodriguez’s life – that I saw last night. The 80 odd minutes flew by in
    a heartbeat. I experienced every emotion – sadness, joy, excitement, despair – during this time. The movie was about more than Rodriguez’ music. It was also testament to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity (and not only that of Rodriguez’), a reflection on the workings of the music industry back in the day (and a vivid illustration of why that business model is dying out in the digital age), contained lessons to me as a parent, provided understanding of what true humility means and – of course – provided a showcase of this man’s wonderful music that I have been privileged to know since the 80s. I truly hope that this movie brings some respect, recognition and financial reward to a man who (at 70) still sounds like he did on Cold Fact in the late 60s. I walked into the cinema as a fan, and left as someone that felt I had exerienced a human (rather than musical) journey. Listening to Rodriguez’ three daughters speak taught me more about the man than I could ever learn in his music. I cannot recommed this movie highly enough. In South Africa it is showing on the limited Noveau circuit for a limited time. Do NOT wait for DVD if possible – there was something about sitting in the darkened cinema with the dolby sound system that made me realise this was the right way to see this movie. The cinematography and direction is brilliant (same director as Man on a Wire) and only the big screen can do it justice. I was also blown away by Rodriguez’s perfromance live on David Letterman on 14 August 2012. A stunning arrangement of one of his best songs. It is so gratifying that not only is he now receiving mainstream recogniton in the US, but also that he sounds so great (at 70!) whilst doing so! So from me to you, Rodriguez, the man who gave me ‘Jane S Piddy’ and ‘Cause’ – respect.


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