Director: Malik Bendjelloul. UK, 2012. 85 minutes. Cert: CLUB. Language: English
“a hugely appealing documentary” – New York Times Critics’ Pick
American singer Sixto Rodriguez was the greatest 1970s folk-rock icon who never was. Despite critical praise, his albums bombed in the U.S., and he promptly faded into obscurity, leaving behind only urban legends of a gruesome on-stage suicide.
But somehow a bootleg copy of his album made its way to apartheid South Africa, where his anti-establishment message and distinctive sound resonated with the youth protest movement there, making Rodriguez an instant superstar.
Decades later, two intrepid fans decide to investigate whatever happened to the mysterious rocker. While initially frustrated by a dearth of leads, they eventually trace his roots to 1970s Detroit and a producer named Mike Theodore, who drops a bombshell that completely changes the nature of their investigation.
Truly stranger than fiction, this story of the Mexican-American folk singer from Detroit and his unforeseen success spans decades and continents, and is aptly unraveled to the soundtrack of Rodriguez’ own haunting original songs.
Watch Sixto Rodriquez on The David Letterman Show in 2012.
Read The New York Times review.
Click here to see the film’s website.
Read The Guardian review by critic Philip French [awarded OBE in 2012 for services to film].