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Searching for Sugar Man Summary

Malik Bendjelloul

Searching for Sugar Man

by Malik Bendjelloul

Searching for Sugar Man

Malik Bendjelloul

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
Audio IconVisual, audio & text

Searching for Sugar Man tells the Cinderella story of Rodriguez, a Mexican-American singer living a quiet working-class life who, in the 1970s, inspired a resistance in apartheid South Africa – with no idea he had done it.

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Searching for Sugar Man

by Malik Bendjelloul

Searching for Sugar Man

Malik Bendjelloul

Overview

Searching for Sugar Man is about the search for an enigmatic, little-known folk singer from Detroit by the name of Sixto Rodriguez. Despite receiving a four-star review from Billboard for his first album, Rodriguez sold little to no copies of his first or second albums and was soon dropped from his label. Rodriguez faded into history – until a few years later, when copies of his albums found their way to apartheid South Africa. Soon after their arrival, bootleg copies circulated among young white South Africans, eventually becoming a staple in white, liberal South African households.

Though he had become an icon of the resistance over 8000 miles away, Rodriguez himself was known in his hometown only as a construction worker; a drifter. He had no idea about the extent of his success abroad.

In this Oscar award-winning documentary, Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul tracks record store owner Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and music journalist Craig Bartholomew-Strydom in their quest to find Rodriguez.

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Favorite Quote

"He had this kind of magical quality that all genuine poets and artists have to elevate things. To get above the mundane, the prosaic. All the bullshit. All the mediocrity that's everywhere."

Rick Emerson, construction worker, colleague

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Searching for Sugar Man

Malik Bendjelloul

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