Searching for Sugar Man Blu-ray and Soundtrack (5 Stars)

.
Music documentaries have gone from a niche audience to overblown saturation. Every musician wants a film, and for good reason, it helps document their lives and specific milestones. The problems with many of these are they're celebrating artists who have reached astonishing heights of success. Further, the artist themselves often have final cut which gives a slanted and often unbalanced picture of their career. When acts hand over themselves to filmmakers who attempt to make the best film possible, regardless of how the artist is exemplified, these are the films that remain in our minds; Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Shut Up and Sing by the Dixie Chicks and Anvil: The Story of Anvil are the highpoints of music documentaries over the last decade often because these films found the respective acts at their most vulnerable and in the end, this is what the directors chose to exposed in the film, for better or worse making it irrefutable. Last summer I sat in a movie theater watching the documentary Searching for Sugar Man and despite knowing how it ended, I was captivated and drawn into the film which only happens a few times a year. I sat there with a grin a mile wide as this film was a marriage of my two favorite art forms- music and movies. There was no denying this was top-tier filmmaking but more importantly, it was beaming a huge light on the man whose talents went undiscovered for far too long. It's fueled by heart and the fact that it was revealing an artist lost to time was an added bonus. When the film won the Oscar for best documentary, it was a well-deserved.

Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul found a way to reinvent the wheel of the music documentary by turning the film into a jigsaw puzzle about the relatively unknown artist Sixto Rodriguez who put out two albums more than forty years ago before disappearing all together. But the story doesn't end there. Somewhere along the line his debut record, Cold Fact was brought to South Africa by a visitor where it took on mythic proportions selling a half-million copies over the decades in a country infinitely smaller than the United States. He sold more records in South Africa than Elvis Presley and all anyone knew about the man was that he committed suicide onstage when his career took a dive. Or did he? This premise leads director Bendjelloul on a fascinating journey throughout South Africa back to Detroit and to South Africa again. The story focuses on two fans, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, who in the 1990s attempt to uncover the mystery and myth of Rodriguez and the virtually implausible turn the story takes. It's important to note that Bendjelloul skipped a few elements of Rodriguez's career for his story arc and there has been criticism about this. I personally feel Bendjelloul made the right choice, because this was not a straight forward biopic but one that unfolds in a sense of surprise for the audience. I'm a music fanatic and had never heard a note of Rodriguez's music before this film and I was so moved by the film and soundtrack that they both made my top-ten lists for film and music last year. Kid Rock also took to his Facebook account to encourage his fans to seek the film out and the artist as well, because even being from Detroit didn't help Rock, he was unaware of Rodriguez until this film as well. Without this film, Rodriguez would have remained be a cult artist and a footnote in the annals of music, but now Rodriguez is a man whose career is not just documented but celebrated with BAFTA and Oscar awards.

Video Presentation
The film was made on a shoe string budget with standard cameras and editing done on his Apple computer. While I can't say Sugar Man will be a demo disc for your home video collection, it looks every bit as good as it did in the theater and possibly better. There is some significant home video footage and still photographs along with animation that takes the film down several different avenues and never does the transfer look cheap, in fact this is a film that you never would have expected to have cost much more than it did.

Sound Quality
Besides the dramatic unfolding of the story of Sixto Rodriguez, what authenticates the film is the music within. Each song feels like a long lost classic deeply embedded within our DNA. Despite having never heard most of these songs before seeing the film, they felt instantly familiar. Hearing them as this story unfolds only further validates his genius. The Blu-ray houses a DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack. The interview footage sounds great, but where the film makes its greatest impression is in the showcased music. Each and every one of Rodriguez's songs sounds animatedly prodigious. Your heart will break, be filled up with love and break again when you hear them. If anything, the Blu-ray gives a better sound presentation of the film than when I saw it in a theater. It's a stunning track and rightfully so because when the subject matter has this many A-grade tunes, you better make the audience not just discover them but fall in love with them as well.

Special Features
While there are plenty of other Blu-ray discs with more bells and whistles, the extra material included on the disc are everything you would need. Up first is a commentary track with director Malik Bendjelloul and Rodriguez himself. The track starts off slow, but is never a bore. Bendjelloul isn't afraid to share his filmmaking secrets with the audience. Specific landscape shots that look sweeping were often done on a shoe string budget with major limitations. He discusses his need to create the score for the film and also his issues with money and how he took on more and more jobs for the film to make it a reality. Rodriguez doesn't have much to offer in the first half of the commentary only chiming in when Bendjelloul asks him questions, which he often answers hesitantly, but as the film goes on, he warms up and offers other insights into the process. One of the more fascinating aspects of the track is we learn Rodriguez had little to do with the film and he doesn't even know some of the people interviewed, which makes for a good discussion. The "Making Sugar Man" feature runs thirty-minutes and offers a consolidated behind-the-scenes look of the making of the film. It's a nice piece that compliments the commentary. For those who opt to not listen to the commentary, this is a must-see, as it details the struggle to bring this story to life and the reaction to the film. "An Evening with Malik Bendjelloul and Rodriguez" only runs ten-minutes but features the two answering questions at the Tribeca Film Festival. The disc is rounded out by the film's trailer and previews of other assorted Sony releases.

Searching for Sugar Man is a film that makes you believe in miracles, hard work and being the best at what you do because even if it is not noticed instantaneously, somewhere over time, someone will find a way to bring you and your talents to the forefront. When the film ended, I wanted to see it again and more importantly, wanted to hear this music again. The soundtrack of Searching for Sugar Man is one of the most perfect records I have heard in recent years. There are superb reissues of his Cold Fact and Coming From Reality albums but for me, the soundtrack serves the purpose of containing all of his five-star songs on one collection. The honeyed harmonies and stimulating lyrics can be matched by few, but I promise you, the songs will stick to your insides as soon as you hear them leaving you wonder why these records didn't find their respective audiences when released more than forty years ago. Searching for Sugar Man is one of the ten best films to appear in the last few years and it's one of those rare films that will elevate you and even possibly transform your outlook on life. The best part is that even when the credits roll, you can take these dreams with you in the form of the soundtrack. The film, the Blu-ray and accompanying soundtrack aren't items you will watch or listen to once, but revisit time and time again.

Blu-Ray

Soundtrack

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMusic DOT com and can be followed on Twitter

Searching for Sugar Man Blu-ray and Soundtrack (5 Stars)
Rating:

Share this article
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on Reddit email this article

More articles for this artist .




advertisement

advertisement

News Reports
Day in Rock:
Foreigner Shares Video Of Reunion Of Original Members- Video From Guns N' Roses Apollo Theater Show Goes Online- Chester Bennington's Cause Of Death Confirmed- more

Stone Temple Pilots Pay Tribute To Chester Bennington- Guns N' Roses Add Dates To North American Reunion Tour- Rock Is No Longer Most Popular Music In America- more

Chester Bennington 'Remembered' In Epic Facebook Post- Nine Inch Nails Rock New Songs And Bowie At First Show in 3 Years- Metallica's Lars Ulrich Replaced By Little Girl- more

Day in Pop:
Meek Mill Takes Aim At Nicki Minaj On New Track '1942 Flows'- Justin Bieber Banned From China For 'Bad Behavior'- Lady Antebellum Release Sam Hunt Parody 'Party in a Bathrobe'- more

Taylor Swift Wins Legal Victory in Assault Case- Shania Twain Release Second New Single 'Poor Me'- Louis Tomlinson Releases 'Back to You' Video Featuring Bebe Rexha- more

Linkin Park Officially Cancel 'One More Light' Tour- Ed Sheeran To Guest Star On 'The Simpsons'- Aaron Carter Talks Arrest, Lashes Out At Brother Nick- Taylor Swift- more

advertisement


Reviews

Don Barnes - Ride the Storm

On The Record: Raiders Of The Lost Ark Soundtrack

Lollapalooza TBT Month: 2013 Day Two

Sites and Sounds: Cincinnati Music Festival

Queen + Adam Lambert Live In Chicago

Road Trip: Festival d'ete de Quebec

Junkyard - High Water

Lollapalooza TBT Month: 2015 - Metallica, Brand New And More

Sailing to Nowhere - To The Unknown

Mark Slaughter - Halfway There

Die Choking - III

American High - Bones in the Attic, Flowers in the Basement

Root 66: Cary Morin - Cradle to the Grave

On The Record: Melvin Van Peebles and Earth, Wind & Fire - Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song Soundtrack

Root 66: MandolinMan - Unfolding the Roots

Messa - Belfry

Root 66: Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos

Road Trip Missouri: Get Your Sips on Route 66

Rock Reads: 45 RPM (Recollections Per Minute) The Morrell Archives Volume 3

The Fatal Pursuit - Sinful

Root 66: Evan Michaels - Ain't No Stopping This

TBT Van Halen more

Rock News Stories
Foreigner Shares Video Of Reunion Of Original Members

Video From Guns N' Roses Apollo Theater Show Goes Online

Chester Bennington's Cause Of Death Confirmed

David Gilmour Releases Pompeii Concert Film Preview

Deep Purple Releasing Career Spanning Anthology 'A Fire In The Sky'

Rammstein Resuming Work On First Album Since 2009

Marty Friedman Recruits Black Veil Brides' Jinxx For New Song

Superjoint and Devildriver Announce The Broken Bones Tour

The Bronx Release Video For New Track 'Sore Throat'

The Haunted Release 'Spark' Music Video

Jag Panzer Release 'Far Beyond All Fear' Video

The Contortionist Streaming New Song 'Absolve'

more

B-Side Stories
Meek Mill Takes Aim At Nicki Minaj On New Track '1942 Flows'

Justin Bieber Banned From China For 'Bad Behavior'

Lady Antebellum Release Sam Hunt Parody 'Party in a Bathrobe'

Madam Tussauds Pulls Beyonce Waxwork Following Controversy

Singled Out: Swearingen and Kelli's Satellite Friends

Louis Tomlinson's 'Back to You' Influenced By Arctic Monkeys

Chase Rice Releases New Track 'Three Chords And The Truth'

Tyga Releases New Track 'Feel Me' Featuring Kanye West

Logic Releases 'Take It Back' Music Video

Sam Hunt Reveals His Favorite OutKast Song

more



Follow Us:

Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2016 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.