As a reader of friday and weekend reviews I have noticed a hunger for documentaries. My initial feeling about this was pphhhfffff!!!! so what. But is seems that I have finally succumbed and i blame the wife who took me to see Marley earlier in the year.
Last night we went to see Searching.... at the Curzon Soho and stumbled upon an extraordinary story which i'll spend some time on later but first the Curzon Soho. I'm no expert on access and i would need someone to back this up and find the faults that I did not see but I remember a ramped entrance, a lift that i presume serves all floors and extremely comfortable seating. I also encountered great staff attitudes. Holding up the queue to enquire about concessisons I was told about the CA Card - anyone know what a CA Card is and where to get one from? Then we tried to wrangle a cheaper ticket on the basis of our extreme age. They've even got a membership deal on that. Sadly its time restricted. Clearly us Oldies have to be in bed early, don't like West End crowds and have no day time jobs to go to - well, that sums me up but, what about others.
Anyway, Sugar Man. It hinges on 4 mysteries. Who is Sugar Man? Where is Sugar Man? Does Sugar Man still exist? Was there ever a Sugar Man? Or that is what they would have you believe. In solving the riddle however you become exposed to other stories that are key for art. This story is based within South Africa but reaches out to America. It is told in film, home movies, old news reels, photographs and animation. It takes us back to 1971. South Africa is a repressive, extremely conservative regime, a narrator says that its policies stem from Nazi Germany. Culturally censorship is king. The wife later tells me that she modelled in Mauritius sometime and parts of her body where blacked out in SA. She was modelling swimwear. It seems crazy. But what impact does this have. Not just on the indigenous population which is well known but on the powerful minority. Sugar Man does not sell. Why should he? The grooves of the record are scratched out. None should hear about sex or drugs it would seem. And so it is that rock and roll itself goes unheard. But then piracy through home taping takes off. Home taping brings life to music. Every home has three records. Abbey Road, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Cold Facts by Sugar Man. Whose name incidentally is not Sugar Man. Sugar Man sells millions in SA but only about 6 copies in the States so the recording career comes to an end but the artefact becomes ever more powerful. The records influence causes a growth in art. Art becomes associated with rebellion. There are good Afrikaans and later they begin the search.
Ultimately Sugar Man is found. This is what the reviewers tell you. He is found just over half way through the film. So the mystery is resolved. Might as well pack up and go home now. But wait. Part two. What happens next? This is where the extraordinary becomes miraculous but we are sophisticates. We do not believe in miracles. So, you don't need to know what it is. You don't need to know what warmed my heart. And even if you did you wouldn't want me to spoil it for you. So go see. Its heavily recommended.