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The first half of the movie centers around the efforts of two South African men in the music business, both fan of and curious about the mysterious Rodriguez to simply find out more about this guy. The movie then traces the beginnings of Rodriguez in the late 60s in Detroit (with archive footage of the city at that time, not much better than it is now, just haunting) and how Rodriguez's 1970 debut album "Cold Fact" first became an underground hit in South Africa at the height of the apartheid regime (with songs like "The Establishment Blues") and eventually became a genuine hit album. It is about midway through the movie that we are introduced to Rodriguez himself, in present day, as he and the two South African men eventually hook up in 1997, and they now retell the story of what happened then. We see footage of Rodriguez coming to South Africa in early 1998, and the scenes we get to witness are almost beyond belief and description.
Several comments: Rodriguez (who now must be in his early 60s I think) comes across as a humble, truly down to earth guy, unfazed (and not bitter in the slightest) about how his life has unfolded. (The movie notes at the end that he still lives in the same modest downtown Detroit house he has lived in for 40 years.Read more ›
This film goes some way to explaining it, but only some way. See it and buy "Cold Fact"; better late than never.
As idle boarding school teenagers we listened to COLD FACT on our communal record player nearly every afternoon, scratched vinyl 'schkt-schkt' included.
As teenagers, these wise words and lyrics were correctly accepted at life-truth's and philosophy lessons - listen carefully and mull over the words.
Now, more than 30 years later I see this touching story unfold further. A truly wise man who superficially seemed to 'fail' in his resident country, yet unknowingly in other parts of the world (Southern Africa, Australia and parts of Europe) in places probably unknown to him, he was a huge success at positively influencing and teaching thousands with his wise words.
This story fittingly reminds us that LIFE works in strange ways.
Mr Rodriguez, I salute you and I thank you.
The story of Sixto Rodriguez' accidental stardom in South Africa is every amateur songsmith's wildest dream come true. Having plugged away for years in front of unappreciative hometown crowds - in Rodriguez' case, having given it away altogether - to then discover you have been adored all along, by half a million fans, must be quite the trip. A trip, in this case, from inner-city Detroit in 1971 to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1998.
Sixto Rodriguez was (if this film isn't really an elaborate hoax, a caveat you may take as read for the remainder of this review) a singer songwriter from Detroit who came to brief notice in the late sixties. He was picked up by a label which was part of the Motown empire. Perhaps his mistake was to ply Greenwich Village folk to the people of Motor City, but in any case his two recorded records sold not at all, and he was promptly dropped and passed quickly into oblivion.
Or so he thought: But not, as it turned out, in South Africa, where his songs had spread by word of mouth and bootlegged cassettes. Under Apartheid this Mexican American folkie became an immense underground hit.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing story of a gifted musician and intelligent, sensitive, enlightened man who raised 3 impressive daughters. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by Maureen Gage
Enjoyed this very much. Wasn't familiar with Rodriguez until now. Can't believe he didn't gain popularity in the US as his music is amazing.Published 4 days ago by Alison H Hout
I found Rodriguez Today!!! I heard "Sugar Man" while watching the French/Jewish movie, ALIYAH. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Yari
Unbelievable real story. Easy spoiler . Just make yourself a favor and watch it.Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting documentary on an outstanding musician. Well done.Published 13 days ago by EDWARD J.