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May 1, 2012 11:41 AM   Subscribe

I saw this at SXSW, it's really good. He was at the screening and was adorable.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:19 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whoa, this post is really cool. Thanks!
posted by broadway bill at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2012

Cold Fact is a fantastic album....(as I seem to have also gushed in that previous thread).
posted by Flashman at 1:37 PM on May 1, 2012

I'm happy this film got made, but I'm not surprised.

I was at its financing pitch at IDFA, where I work a few days every year as a video operator. It's a gig I've been doing for well over a decade, and I can say without exaggeration that it was easily one of the best pitches I've seen. Most pitches fall into one of two categories: the nervous ("please give me money") or the technical ("we might be willing to do a 52-minute edit for your strand"). This however was a rare instance of an elusive third kind: a creative, energetic filmmaker just winning you over with his words.

Malik Bendjelloul truly charmed the pants off of every commissioning editor in the room that day.

The only other time I remember such engagement from the (all-professional and often a bit stiff) audience at the event was a smart, hypomanic Belgian dude who wanted to make a series' worth of cooking with rock stars, although that was not a documentary in the narrow sense and I doubt it ever got made.

Malik handed me an audio CD before his pitch, a bit of a change from the usual DVD with a maze of menus or laptop computer with an array of exotic and almost extinct connectors. (Documentary filmmakers, get your shit together if you want a successful pitch!) Naturally he had the foresight to request I play not "Sugar Man", Rodriguez's signature tune of sorts, but "Cause", an even more desolate track whose very first line would have been laughably mawkish coming from just about anyone else, but coming from Sixto's lips perfectly sets the scene:

'Cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas

Malik's pitch read like a thriller: "Nobody knows where he is! People think he's dead! Living a crack house without plumbing... he discovers he's charting in South Africa!" I paraphrase of course, but only slightly. It really was a damn fine pitch.

So much so that it boggles the mind why filmmakers don't go this route more often, instead all too commonly getting bogged down early in questions about subject access or technical formats. If you're following an orchestra consisting entirely of kids with Down syndrome, or making a pamphlet film about the overfishing of cod or whatever, surely you can boil down the most compelling parts of the story to three minutes of riveting speech, right?

Anyhow, the pitch was the first time I heard of Rodriguez, and it did turn me on to his music, so I'm looking forward to seeing the film.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:43 PM on May 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

Meant to link it: here's that track, "Cause".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:44 PM on May 1, 2012

Goodnews: That show you mentioned sounds like Cooking With The Band. Was that it?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:06 PM on May 1, 2012

Possibly, PA. But I somehow doubt it. The director was definitely a Flemish guy and the footage he showed was definitely more raw/oddball in tone, more "Fishing with John". But I may well be wrong. Thanks for posting this, by the way.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:18 PM on May 1, 2012

I first heard of Rodriguez when my rock star crush Elvis Perkins covered "Forget It". This led me to Cold Fact, which is a fantastic album.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:44 PM on May 1, 2012

Thanks for posting this, by the way.

You're welcome. It was my 200th post apparently.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:53 PM on May 1, 2012

Oh, this is good. I had never heard of him, thanks for posting!
posted by Corduroy at 10:08 PM on May 1, 2012

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