Combustible Celluloid
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With: Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey, Mike Theodore, Dan DiMaggio, Jerome Ferretti, Steve Rowland, Willem Mšller, Craig Bartholomew Strydom, Ilse Assmann, Steve M. Harris, Robbie Mann, Clarence Avant, Eva Rodriguez, Rick Emmerson, Rian Malan, Regan Rodriguez, Sandra Rodriguez-Kennedy, Sixto Rodriguez
Written by: Malik Bendjelloul, based on articles by Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Craig Bartholomew-Strydom
Directed by: Malik Bendjelloul
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and some drug references
Running Time: 86
Date: 07/27/2012

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cool, Cold Facts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The music business has a lot of great stories, but there may be none quite as great as this one. The documentary Searching for Sugar Man begins with an obscure Detroit singer called Rodriguez, once compared to Bob Dylan, but could not sell any records. That might be the end, but -- somehow -- bootleg tapes of Rodriguez's albums made it all the way to South Africa, where they became part of the rallying cry against apartheid. His music was accompanied by a legend that he had committed suicide on stage. Several journalists tried to find out more, but were stymied.

The ending of this story is absolutely exhilarating. Director Malik Bendjelloul pieces the story together well, interviewing music nerds as well as industry people, all terribly excited not only about the prospect of solving an old mystery, but about discovering a lost talent. The movie has a great deal of warmth and movement; it doesn't just feel like static talking heads, and it rightly won an Oscar.

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