Swedish documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul was found dead today in Stockholm. A cause of death has not been released, but police say no foul play involved. Bendjelloul was 36.
It was slightly more than a year ago when Bendjelloul’s film Searching for Sugar Man won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Searching for Sugar Man was the story of how Sixto Rodriguez, an obscure American folk singer from the early 1970s became famous in South Africa and yet was believed to be dead until two of his most devoted South African fans decided to search for him. Here is what I wrote about Searching for Sugar Man after seeing it in October 2012. Here is Bendjelloul and Rodriguez in a joint interview promoting the film.
Last Friday, I had the privilege of seeing Rodriguez in concert here in Boston and my review of his show (as well as that of Ramsey Lewis) can be found on the main page. Tonight, Rodriguez is scheduled to perform in his hometown of Detroit and will no doubt pay tribute to the man who was instrumental in finally gaining him an audience in this country.
It is a shame that Bendjelloul will have no more stories to tell, but he does leave us with a masterpiece. I leave you with Bendjelloul accepting his Oscar.
UPDATE: According to his older brother Johar, Bendjelloul committed suicide after a brief bout of depression.