Tragic news from Sweden as reports say that on the 13th May 2014, director Malik Bendjelloul has been found dead after apparently committing suicide. The police have eradicated foul play from the case and his brother Johar has explained to the press about Malik’s battle with depression saying “Life is not always simple.” He was only 36.
This man directed and produced (alongside Simon Chinn) the 2012 Best Documentary Academy award winner “Searching for Sugarman” which follows the journey of two fans from Cape Town attempting to discover whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez is true, following the huge fanbase the folk musician had developed in South Africa. For me, the only thing that overshadowed the fantastic documentary itself was the commitment Bendjelloul had to making his vision come to life, after running out of money and film on his 8mm camera, he had the ingenuity to finish off the rest of his documentary using his iPhone and an app to create an 8mm effect. It is the epitome of devotion.
Sugarman was released to critical acclaim, holding a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes among many other rave reviews. When the news was broken that they had been nominated for the Award, Sixto famously said that he didn’t want to accept any part of the award as he feared it would “overshadow the filmmakers achievement” if he went with them. Bendjelloul reciprocated this respect by fitting Sixto into his acceptance speech, “Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez”.This speaks volumes about both Sixto and Bendjelloul and the mutual respect the two shared. Such camaraderie and support between two people of different cultures, ages and fields of entertainment is always a lovely thing to see. Rodriguez is yet to comment on the passing of Bendjelloul.
Of course, when anyone takes their own life it is an extremely sad thing and one can only imagine what it must be like to his close friends and family. Depression is such a serious illness and it’s awful to see a man, with as creative a mind as he had, plagued with it. So I take this opportunity to pay my respects to such a brilliant and promising young filmmaker; R.I.P. Malik Bendjelloul.
“Life is not always simple”.
Searching For Sugar Man Trailer