What Is the Plot of "Searching for Sugar Man"?


Quick Answer

The 2012 documentary "Searching for Sugar Man" details the search conducted by fans to find out what happened to reclusive urban folk musician Sixto Rodriguez. The Detroit singer recorded two albums in the early 1970s and then disappeared entirely from the music scene.

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Full Answer

Sixto Rodriguez recorded two albums in 1970 and 1971 that were popular with critics but which sold very poorly due to a combination of terrible distribution and promotion. Following the release of the second record, Rodriguez disappeared from the music industry altogether. Over the years, rumors persisted that Rodriguez had passed away, with some of the more lurid tales suggesting he'd committed suicide on stage during a performance.

Unknown to Rodriguez at the time, his albums had become favorites of the growing anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Among music fans in that country, the singer-songwriter was a household name as popular as Elvis Presley, The Beatles or the Rolling Stones. In the film two South African fans try to discover the truth about Rodriguez, seeking out any friends or family of the artist who might know his whereabouts.

In the climax of the movie, the fans not only discover Rodriguez alive and well in his native Detroit, they're astonished to discover the singer is oblivious to his fame and recognition across the world. A series of sold-out concert tours, television appearances, and even a new recording contract result from the rediscovery of Rodriguez and his music, some 40 years after he left his music career. The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2013.

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