Best of 2012: Searching For Sugar Man (12A)

searching for sugar man

From the archive

This film was last shown on 30 December 2012

In 1968, two producers went to a downtown Detroit bar to see an unknown recording artist – a charismatic Mexican-American singer/songwriter named Rodriguez who had attracted a local following with his mysterious presence, soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They were immediately bewitched and went on to produce Rodriguez's album – Cold Fact.

Despite good reviews, Cold Fact was a commercial disaster. Rodriguez sank back into obscurity. All that trailed him were stories of his escalating depression, and rumours that he had committed suicide by setting himself ablaze on stage.

This was not the end of Rodriguez’s story. A bootleg recording of Cold Fact somehow found its way to South Africa in the early ‘70s, a time when South Africa was becoming increasingly isolated as the Apartheid regime tightened its grip. Rodriguez’s anti-establishment lyrics and observations as an outsider in urban America felt particularly resonant for a whole generation of disaffected Afrikaners. The album quickly developed an avid following and the reactionary government banned the record, ensuring no radio play, which only served to further fuel its cult status.

This film tells the story of two devoted fans who set out to uncover the truth about their idol. 


Part of the Showroom's handpicked 'Best Of 2012' season screening between Christmas and New Year.

All full-priced tickets £5!
Showroom Members – tickets half price!


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Malik Bendjelloul
87 mins


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