This is the story of Rodriguez, a musician from the USA, who had a recording contract that produced two albums but sold next to none. It’s one of those stories that you might not believe if you heard it in a bar. It proves once again that truth is stranger than fiction. “Searching for Sugarman” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125608/starts off with a seemingly insignificant event. One of Rodriguez’ albums is brought by chance to South Africa in the seventies. Then for reasons hard to pin down, his music becomes a huge hit in South Africa. No one in the USA seemed to know about it, least of all Rodriquez himself. Some say it was because his lyrics touched a nerve with would be rebellious youth in the repressive culture of South Africa at the time. One person says that in the seventies in South Africa, the albums you’d always see by a turntable, were Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkle, Abbey Road by the Beatles, and Cold Fact by Rodriguez. Added to every other surreal fact in this true scenario is that no one knows anything about Rodriguez in South Africa. You could find information about other pop stars in magazines and newspapers, but Rodriguez is a mystery. The mystery inspires the myth of his suicide which sometimes involved him blowing his brains out with a gun onstage or setting himself on fire on stage. Always in front of an audience. Meanwhile Rodriguez is far from any stage or audience. When the recording contract doesn’t pan out, he goes back to his day job of heavy manual labor and lives out his life. Until – what a beautiful word, until some guys in South Africa decide to do some sleuthing when Rodriguez’ album gets re-released as a cd.
Soon there’s a website and a journalist making phone calls trying to find Rodriquez. The ending will choke you up and the power of music will blow you away. And don’t forget the power of the internet to find people and connect. In this case the connection is Rodriquez to his loyal fans in South Africa. It’s Rip Van Winkle and Cinderella rolled into one. It’s the search for something glimpsed and the awakening to a whole new reality by the sought after. You gotta love the guy. Does Rodriguez let all this fame stuff go to his head? No. He gives all the new found money to his family and friends and still lives in the house he’s lived in for forty years. What would it be like to wake up and find out that a dream you thought you’d lost is thriving in a country far away where fans have tattoos of your album cover on their arms and you’re working a manual laborer? You'll have to go to the movie to find out.
Now playing in Boise at The Flicks http://www.theflicksboise.com/