Although LA Film Fest goes on through the weekend, Wednesday was my last day there. There are some interesting films yet to play including some added showings of some of the more popular films.
Can you be famous and not know it? In Searching for Sugar Man we discover the 1970s music of Rodriquez. Rodriquez is described as an inner city poet who people compare to Bob Dylan. At the beginning of the film we don’t learn much about him personally. He made a couple of albums, but never developed a following and soon faded into obscurity. Well, he found no following in the US, but in South Africa he was considered a superstar. One more recent article on him had the headline, “American Zero, South African Hero”. South African youth were amazed at the antiestablishment tone of his music. It encouraged them to challenge their society. They were amazed at stories of his spectacular suicide on stage. But they also didn’t know much about him until years later when some people started digging to learn about him. Here begins a detective story following various clues and discovering some real surprises. As a result his music is experiencing a bit of a resurrection. This film was totally engaging, and what’s more, I realized as I was watching it that I was smiling.
Drought documents the life on a Mexican ranch that relies on the presence of water. This is a life without luxuries—such as refrigerators or running water—or even clean water. These are people of the land. This is where they have lived and will live their lives. We watch as these people care for horses and cattle. But as time passes the water is scarcer and scarcer. We are constantly reminded of how important water is to life. We note that, when we see one of the women getting an ultrasound of her baby, who is not doing well because he needs more water. We see it on a spiritual level at the baptism of some of the children. There are some dismal scenes of the animals that don’t have enough water—including one of a colt dying. In spite of all the darkness in the film, there is also hope and the promise of new life that comes with the rain.