Director of Searching For Sugar Man dies

OSCAR WINNER: Bendjelloul, 36, was found dead in Stockholm.


    May 15, 2014

    Director of Searching For Sugar Man dies


    MALIK Bendjelloul - a Swedish film-maker who won the 2013 Academy Award for best documentary with his debut feature, Searching For Sugar Man, about a forgotten American balladeer who, unwittingly, achieved fame halfway around the world - was found dead on Tuesday in Stockholm. He was 36.

    Police there confirmed the death without stating a cause.

    A largely inexperienced film-maker when he started the project, Bendjelloul edited Searching For Sugar Man in his Stockholm apartment and paid for most of it himself.

    The film tells the story of Sixto Rodriguez, a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Detroit who recorded two blues-tinged folk-rock albums under the single name Rodriguez in the early 1970s and then vanished from the music scene, a casualty of poor publicity and meagre sales.

    For decades, he supported himself and three daughters doing manual labour, unaware that his music - songs of protest and hardscrabble life rendered in a heartfelt tenor - had resonated in South Africa.

    Victims and opponents of apartheid there especially admired his anthems of struggle.

    The film takes its title from Sugar Man, a song about a drug dealer that appeared on Rodriguez's 1970 album, Cold Fact.

    The film unearths Rodriguez's tale in the manner of a detective story, telling of the search for information about the singer that had been started by an ardent fan, Stephen Segerman, a Cape Town record store owner.