Infrequent coarse language
Written and Directed by Malik Bendjelloul
Featuring: Rodriguez, Stephen ‘Sugar” Segerman
Running time: 86 minutes
This is the saga of an elusive Detroit-based singer-songwriter of the early 1970s named Rodriguez. Always something of a mystery to the people around him, he nevertheless had a profound effect on everyone who met him or saw him perform. Producers and record executives who worked with him compared him with Bob Dylan. But the public never embraced his albums and he faded into obscurity… except in South Africa, of all places.
His songs inspired resistance to Apartheid and he became a cult hero to many, anathema to others. Rumoured to have died on stage during a performance, either by self-immolation or by a selfinflicted gunshot, a South African journalist went in search of the truth about Rodriguez. And that’s the story of the film.
It’s a riveting and moving journey with major surprises along the way and some great music. Swedish film maker Malik Bendjelloul creates a mysterious world for the elusive Rodriguez in his home town of Detroit and managed to track down most of the main players in his life.
It’s a fine documentary, insightful and beautifully cathartic.
Original Reviews by Leonard Maltin – Indiewire and Margaret Pomeranz – At The Movies
Compiled by Gill Ireland