When a documentary begins by telling you that its subject committed suicide on stage four decades earlier, you don’t expect to be treated to a recently conducted interview with the supposedly deceased. Or maybe we should see that coming. Much credit to director Malik Bendjelloul for surprising this cynical and desensitised film watcher.
Searching for Sugar Man tells the remarkable true story of failed folk singer Rodriguez (failed in terms of becoming a pop icon, but certainly not in terms of creative or artistic acumen). A contemporary of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones – and considered an equal by industry insiders – he never quite connected with the music purchasing population, and was later rumoured to have self-immolated at the conclusion of his final gig out of frustration. Some said he put a gun in his mouth in front of a horrified audience. It was also suggested that he killed himself in prison. The man eventually emerges to state, emphatically, that no, he’s still here.