Thursday, February 02, 2012

Sundance 2012: The Rockumentaries

Mrs. Kyailty typically chooses our Sundance flicks each year and for 2012, she went 100% rockumentary awesomeness. We kicked of the festival with what was easily one of the most inspirational films I've seen in a long time.

Searching for Sugar Man is the larger than life story of the late-'60s, early-'70s singer-songwriter named Rodriguez, whose albums fell flat in the US. However, those same tunes found their way through all kinds of economic sanctions into South Africa at the height of Apartheid. Within the confines of this then police-state, Rodriguez's music fueled the anti-Apartheid movement among young Afrikaners.

Rodriguez became bigger than Elvis. But no one outside of South Africa knew it and everyone inside figured that since no new albums were being produced, he must have gone down in a literal blaze of glory. The stories of his death grew more and more elaborate over time and inspired two South African sleuths to search once and for all for Sugar Man.

Ironically, Rodriguez's album Cold Fact was released domestically just two months after Simon & Garfunkel's epic Bridge Over Troubled Water. It barely had a chance. In a strange twist of fate, a film called Under African Skies also premiered at Sundance this year. Mrs. Kyality caught this doc about Paul Simon's controversial Graceland album recorded in Apartheid-laden South Africa.

We wrapped up our Sundance fest with Shut Up and Play The Hits. Though entered in the documentary category, this was without a doubt a straight up concert flick. It beautifully covers the final LCD Soundsystem show at Madison Square Garden and captures the day after. Interlaced throughout the film is an amazing interview between pop culture expert Chuck Klosterman and LCD frontman and creative force James Murphy. I love LCD Soundsystem and I loved this flick, but there's not doubt you'll question Murphy's motives. Was he in for the art or did he actually get out of it for art?

Yeah, pretty much one of the coolest previews ever.

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