Searching for Sugar Man (12A)


Dir: Malik Bendjelloul

Running time: 85 minutes

EVERY good documentary has as its starting point a great story, and Malik Bendjelloul's film can certainly boast that. Sixto Rodriguez was a minor folk singer in his home city of Detroit. Unbeknown to him, word of mouth, and an American tourist packing his albums in her suitcase, had made him an underground hit in apartheid South Africa. Bendjelloul traces the singer's story and what happened when two of Rodriguez's fans tried to find out more about their mysterious hero. Bendjelloul assembles a fine cast of talking heads and lets the story unfold slowly. While one has the nagging sense that there are other layers of the tale yet to be uncovered, and Rodriguez's music, a little bit Dylan, very 1970s, isn't quite the revelation one expects, this is a highly satisfying watch.

Reviewed by Alison Rowat

Cineworld, Renfrew Street, Glasgow, today; Cameo, Edinburgh, today and August 2; Glasgow Film Theatre, August 17-23.

The Apartment (PG)


Dir: Billy Wilder

With: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine

Running time: 125mins

BILLY Wilder's 1960 classic The Apartment, delivered a year after Some Like It Hot, gets a welcome re-release for both the delectation of movie buffs and anyone who has so far missed out.

Jack Lemmon stars as the put-upon CC Baxter, who sees an opportunity to rise through the ranks of his New York insurance company by allowing various executives to use his apartment for extra-marital affairs. But the ploy comes back to haunt him once he realises that his own boss (Fred MacMurray) is taking the pretty elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine), with whom he's long had a crush on, for more of the same.

Wilder's film is, by turns, highly satirical of office politics and social standards, deeply dramatic once it takes a turn into darker material and, finally, authentically romantic without the need for grand Hollywood gestures.

What results is a timeless, multiple Oscar-winning classic that continues to resonate.

Reviewed by Rob Carnevale

R/I (Filmhouse, July 28-30, GFT, August 1-2)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (PG)


Dir: Luis Buñuel

With: Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig

Running time: 100mins

BACK in cinemas to mark the 40th anniversary of the film's original release, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie remains the finest hour of its director Luis Buñuel despite its lack of a coherent plot.

The film follows six pillars of society as they attempt repeatedly to have dinner only to have their plans interrupted by events that start out as real (such as a scheduling mix-up) but which become increasingly surreal and mixed with dreams.

Buñuel never really explains the meaning of these but his film retains plenty of satirical bite, some of which remains relevant today, while also proving to be humorous and disturbing, often at the same time. It's also impeccably performed by his cast, which includes regular collaborators Fernando Rey and Paul Frankeur.

The film marked the third of Buñuel's six collaborations with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and won the 1972 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It showed that even at the grand old age of 72, there was still plenty of life (and mischief) in this grand master of surrealist cinema.

Reviewed by Rob Carnevale

(Filmhouse July 27-August 2)