Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sixto Rodriguez | Sugar Man

If you haven't seen the documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, then you are missing, what I think, is not only the best documentary of 2012, but the best film of the year.

Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 Swedish/British documentary detailing the efforts of two Cape Town, South Africa fans, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out if the rumored death of American musician Rodriguez was true, and, if not, to discover what had become of him. Little did they know how difficult their search would become.

Rodriguez's music, which never took off in the United States, had become wildly popular in South Africa, but because of Apartheid, very little was known about him there. Rodriguez was considered "Bigger than the Beatles" in South Africa, but in America, no one ever heard of him or his music.

If you love a movie with a great story line, especially an almost unbelievable one, and an inspiring and uplifting one, then you'll love this true story. Sixto truly deserves what happens to him in this film.

But what I really love and admire about this documentary is the man himself, Sixto Rodriguez. He's the epitome of what I call "an honest man", someone who's fully embraced the cynic lifestyle for the freedom it allows. He could even be considered the Diogenes of Detroit.

And he's a great father. I especially love the fantastic job he's done in raising his beautiful daughters to become successful citizens, irrespective of not having any money. The film shows how much they love and admire him.

The director of the documentary, Malik Bendjelloul, whom I also tremendously admire, does a much better job of describing Sixto, his personality, his motivations, and his idiosyncrasies. Here's a recent interview with him on the Tavis Smiley show. [best description begins at minute 20]

Source: PBS: Tavis Smiley


  1. Oscars 2013: 'Searching for Sugar Man' wins best documentary.

    Source: LA Times

  2. In South Africa there is significant debate about whether or not this documentary overstates the role of Sixto Rodriguez in liberating the minds of South Africans. What truths did he help to surface? Why in particular did his music stir the souls of so many Afrikaners during the seventies?

    Source: Sugar Man's Medicine for Salty Wounds: The Oscar Goes to a Cultural Healer

  3. He was declared to be Robert Phillips, an English teacher at Southside High who claimed to be against drugs and gangs like the Ghoulies. He notably became the current Sugarman after Clifford's death.