The long road of redemption continues to glisten in gold for Rodriguez as the film Searching for Sugar Man, which chronicled his rise from obscurity in the United States and discovery of his stardom in South Africa, won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Under the watchful wizardry of fledgling Swedish film producer/director Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugar Man tells the tale of two South African music enthusiasts who were on a quest to qualify the demise of a former music icon, only to discover that their fallen idol was actually still alive and well and living in the United States.
Bendjelloul beautifully recounts the journey and re-discovery of one man’s music, his life, and the legend he created in helping to inspire a country’s anti-Apartheid movement.
From the sweeping rugged vistas of South Africa to the humble run-down inner city neighborhoods in the Detroit, Michigan area, Bendjelloul captures the essence and global strength of a musical common thread.
Through this common thread he helps to chronicle a country’s love for a music legend that never knew his audience even existed.
After failing to chart in the U.S, market, Rodriguez dropped out of the music scene and toiled a meager existence as a laborer, not knowing that the corrupt music business had pocketed his royalties from successful album sales in far away South Africa. It would be decades before he learned the truth and that he had an eager fan base on another continent that was anxious to hear their long-time hero perform live.
Determined and financially challenged, first-time filmmaker Bendjelloul delivered a heartwarming story of an artist who finally realizes his long overdue recognition and eventually plays to throngs of adoring fans. It’s through his skill, clarity, and ability to bring to life a real-life fairytale that earned Bendjelloul a well-deserved Oscar.