A love story is developing between the French and Rodriguez, the Detroit-born musician who flopped in the 1970s, was a star without knowing it in apartheid South Africa and was rediscovered last summer in the United States when the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” was released.
The film tells the extraordinary story of a talented and philosophical musician who spent his life working in construction while struggling to bring up his three daughters, and the mind-boggling mutual discoveries in 1997: for him, that he was more famous than the Rolling Stones in South Africa, and for South African fans (who believed him to be dead), that he was alive.
The Swedish-British film by Malik Bendjelloul which has made more than $3 million at the box office in the United States, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary category. In France the now-70-year-old Rodriguez has created something of a frenzy: The soundtrack album is among Sony France’s top sales on iTunes. Sony had planned on putting fewer than 3,000 CDs in stores, but after calls from vendors who sensed something was up, made 15,000 copies available.