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"It will ache in my chest the rest of my life."
June 11, 2014 3:54 PM   Subscribe

On May 13th, the film world was shocked and saddened by the tragic death of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who had won an Oscar just last year for the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man". In the month that has passed since then, more details have emerged of the months and days that led up to his suicide. The Hollywood Reporter profiles the life and death of Bendjelloul and takes a look at how sudden success can bring about even more sudden depression.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (16 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
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God grant us all a manageable accumulation of success.
posted by Iridic at 4:06 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by Renoroc at 4:51 PM on June 11


Ach this is sad, I love this movie, and more than that I love Sixo Rodriguez and I love that this doc got him fame and recognition. However:

For the past several months, he had been living in New York

This explains it, imo. New York can be a nightmare. Don't come here to try and write y'all. It can break you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:35 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


During the early 2000s, Bendjelloul went to work for Kobra, which aired on publicly funded Swedish TV (SVT). From the start, he established himself as the in-house creative wizard and set the bar for other reporters to meet.

Kobra's Tribute to Malik Bendjelloul.
posted by phaedon at 6:11 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


In late 2012, I finished a three year music documentary project. Last year, I did the festival rounds with it and searched for finishing funds so I could pay for the music rights and get distribution. So far, I have been unsuccessful at finding any additional investors, so the documentary is sitting on hard drives in my office. Making a documentary by yourself like he did is an extremely stressful thing that drags out over years. While I was making my doc, I, like Malik, was strapped for cash and making ends meet however I could. But strangely, it was not until I had been done with the actual work of making the movie for about six months that the depression and anxiety hit me, big time. I was even making money again by that time, so the major stressors were gone, but it was like my body and mind just collapsed together. So I feel like I understand what happened with him, even though he was much more successful than I was.
posted by vibrotronica at 6:39 PM on June 11 [14 favorites]


Terrible news! Also that was a wonderful film.

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posted by Coaticass at 7:50 PM on June 11


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posted by allthinky at 7:50 PM on June 11


This is sad. I heard him interviewed - I believe with Sixto - by Jian Ghomeshi on Q. They both had such interesting stories. Terrible news.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:43 PM on June 11


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posted by chicainthecity at 10:43 PM on June 11


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I was impressed with the Hollywood Reporter piece; I had for some reason assumed it to be a TMZ level rag. The descriptions of Bendjelloul's earlier forays into ritual suggests to my ignorant layman senses that he was not a stranger to anxiety, and that his success didn't suddenly cause the onset of mental health issues as much as it made it even harder for him to seek help.
posted by delegeferenda at 11:50 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


The Hollywood Reporter is a trade mag, nothing more. That, Deadline and Variety are the industry news vehicles.

I hate the idea that the quirks and traits that enable one to get something interesting done have to be related to the conditions that might lead one to difficulty. God rest his soul.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:15 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Oh I'm really sad to hear this. I loved "Searching for Sugar Man". Depression is a terrible thing, and the truly terrifying thing about it is that no amount of fame, success, or even good support networks like a close family are enough to protect someone if they're at the point where they just can't see a way out of it. Peace to him and his.

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posted by billiebee at 3:51 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


delegeferenda--I also thought it was very good writing--a well told story with few, if any, judgements, nor sensationalism. I also think he was no stranger to anxiety and depression--a loss.
posted by rmhsinc at 5:49 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


But strangely, it was not until I had been done with the actual work of making the movie for about six months that the depression and anxiety hit me, big time.

This has happened to me before with less dramatic completions/successes. It's like while you're able to work on something you have a focus, but after that you're emotionally done with the thing, yet still have to make it work financially. I forget the term but it's definitely a thing.

Impostor syndrome can also play a role.
posted by dhartung at 11:11 AM on June 12


The Hollywood Reporter is a trade mag, nothing more. That, Deadline and Variety are the industry news vehicles.

To clarify, I would say that THR is the most personality-focused of those three publications, but it is definitely historically a 'paper of record' rather than a rag. Currently it operates as a weekly magazine, though, and that is tilting it into glossy fashion-ad territory, but still quite respectable (like Vanity Fair).

TMZ is actually a step below a rag. So it's actually two whole rungs higher!
posted by dhartung at 11:20 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


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posted by tessmartin at 1:39 PM on June 12


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