June 12, 2014

Malik Bendjelloul ~ Searching for Sugarman & Sixto Rodriguez

photographer unknown

On October 8, 2012, I wrote an article on The Family Dogg & Sixto Rodriguez. It was prompted by a program I'd seen on television, 60 Minutes. I was delighted and amazed to learn about the saga and of the time, effort and money Bendjelloul had spent uncovering the story of musician Sixto Rodriguez and making a film of it. It was important to me because of the influence the music by Rodriguez had had on me in the early seventies.

I was so deeply affected by the memories the program stirred up in me, I wrote an article about it in less than a day; that almost never happens. 

After I wrote it, I found Bendjelloul on Facebook and dropped him a line to thank him for his brilliant project. Although he was famous now, he had the time and courtesy to reply to me.

"From: Facebook
To: Styrous
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2012 1:45 PM
Subject: New message from Malik Bendjelloul

Hi Sty, Thanks a lot for your message! And... very nice and initiated blog, you know your stuff!

keep up the good work!
all the best,

To say I was blown away that he even took the time and effort to reply is putting it mildly but it demonstrates the caliber of the man and why I include it in this blog entry. Even though he was probably very busy, he responded to me; a rarity by many people much less a celebrity in today's world. 

I was more than thrilled when I heard he had won the Oscar for best documentary at the Academy Awards a few months later on Feb. 24, 2013.

Malik Bendjelloul accepts the Oscar
for best documentary feature, 
during the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles  
file photo from
(AP / Invision / Chris Pizzello/Invision)

Yesterday, I was horrified and shocked when I found out Bendjelloul had jumped in front of a train and committed suicide a month ago on May 13, 2014. I just couldn't believe a man who was so young and talented would do this. But this is not the first time I have been touched by a tragedy such as this. And every time I have not been able to understand the demons in a person's mind that would drive them to such a violent action as this. I probably never will.

The incident was covered by The Hollywood Reporter.

The documentary film, Searching for Sugar Man, is available on Netflix.

I hope Malik is finally free of his demons!

Styrous ~ June 12, 2013


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