Film Review—“Searching for Sugar Man”

Gigi invited me to go to True/False Film Festival on the last day. “It’s not just a movie; it’s a film fest, you should go,” Gigi said. Yeah, I should go. It could be the last year for me to stay in Columbia as I will graduate. I’m glad I made the decision. The movie “Searching for Sugar Man” was incredible. It’s the best story I’ve ever heard. As a journalism student, I wish I would have the opportunity to tell a story like this.

Searching for Sugar Man


The story is about a singer and songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who was “the greatest ’70s U.S. rock icon who never was.” His music was appreciated by producers, but sales were loomed. Rumors were he committed suicide on stage when his audience reacted negatively. However, his albums were a hit in another country, South Africa. People love Rodriguez for decades, although they had no clue who the guy is. Very little information about the artist exists. Then two huge funs of Rodriquez’s music, a music retailer and a journalist, started to investigate what really happened to Rodriquez.


“Sugar man” is one of Rodriguez’s song. One of the two investigator, the music retailer, also gave himself a name “Sugar” in honor of his music idol.


Malik Bendjelloul, Director, Swedish.
Bendjelloul showed up at the True/False Festival in person.

I am appealed to the filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul’s storytelling, and it is inspiring for excellent journalism. He held the central compelling character until half of the movie. This approach keeps viewers interested all the time and wanted to know more about what happens next. What’s more, the rumor of Rodriguez’s suicide and lack of his information dominated the first half of the movie, which is a nice way to show the viewers the difficulties and frustrations of searching for Sugar Man.

Then, at the transition point of the movie, when Rodriguez called Sugar, the audience were amazed to hear the artist’s voice and then see him. The atmosphere of the movie surprisingly turned from depression, sadness and myth to hope, motives and excitement. The story arrived at the most exciting point when Rodriguez when to South Africa and held six great performances which were all sold out. His South African funs crowded, screamed and cried when they see their musical hero.

Sixto Rodriguez



Rodriguez served as a construction worker and led a very humble life. He didn’t get money from his albums sold in South Africa; He didn’t make money from his successful performances either. He was like a super star in South Africa. Nevertheless, he went back to his life, continue his hard work, and still lives in poverty. He is a true artist, a humble human being, and a star for generations. He is inspiring people by the power of his music and also his life.