TV Listings | Treat yourself to some sugar

Pick of the week Searching for Sugar Man (SVT1, Sat 21:30 or DR2, Tue 20:30)

“A fresh and unexpected documentary that plays like a nail-biting mystery and a ticket to ride the whirlwind where art and commerce do battle”, says Rolling Stone about the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, and for good reason. The film has won a string of awards, including the 2012 BAFTA and Oscar awards for best documentary, along with the Special Jury Prize and Audience Award for best international documentary at last year’s Sundance.

The film, directed by Sweden’s Malik Bendjelloul, presents the bittersweet tale of Sixto Rodriguez, a Mexican-American songwriter whose music, despite remaining relatively unknown in the States, attained legendary status in Apartheid-era South Africa. It details the efforts of two Cape Town fans, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Strydom, to find out whether the rumored death of Rodriguez was true, and if not, what had become of him.

It then charts the rise of his international fame following his rediscovery, from playing in small pubs and bars, to shows at international festival giants like Coachella and Glastonbury. But behind the scenes, Rodriguez remains unaltered by his fame, living a modest, Spartan existence, and giving away most of the trappings of his success. In the end, Rodriquez shines through as a thoroughly interesting character to watch, even if his music does not appeal to everyone’s tastes.

The film has been praised by USA Today as “a musical detective story” that sheds light on Rodriquez, “a little-known American musician whose haunting voice and poetic lyrics were essentially unknown in his own country, but had a massive impact across the globe”.

Praise indeed for a songwriter who seems truly bewildered by his fame. Rodriquez declined to attend the Oscars ceremony, feeling that it would take the attention away from the filmmakers. “I was asleep when it won, but my daughter Sandra called to tell me,” said the unassuming Rodriquez. “I don’t have a TV anyway.” (LD)


Also New

Beyond the top pick, it’s a meagre offering from the TV gods, which might explain why a Polish drama has forced its way onto the page. Drama series Londoners (SVT1, Sun 23:15) will no doubt provide some moments of mirth among the landmarks. Elsewhere, there are a few documentaries whose names inspire interest: The Town that Caught Tourettes (DR1, Sun 22:10), Can Eating Insects Save the World (DR2, Tue 23:00) and The Bible’s Buried Secrets (DRK, Wed 22:10); a few series to watch from the beginning: Friday Night Dinner (SVT2, Mon 19:30), Californication (TV2 Zulu, Mon-Thu 23:55) and espionage two-parter Restless (DR1, Mon 22:30); and two to resume: season five of Dexter (TV3+, Mon-Wed 01:00) and season two of Anger Management (TV3+, Mon 19:30), for which the producers presumably have to routinely exhume Charlie Sheen. It’s amazing he hasn’t been cast as a vampire yet. (BH)


Sport of the week

The Danes are under pressure. There’s Caroline Wozniacki bidding to better her final appearance in 2009 at the US Open (Eurosport, all week); Andreas Cornelius, who is looking for his first start for Cardiff City against Everton in the English Premier League (K6/TV3+, Sat 16:00), while Michael Laudrup his first win (West Brom vs Swansea City – TV3+, Sun 14:25); and don’t forget the seven teams at the World Rowing (Eurosport, Fri-Sun 08:00) – that’s providing any of them qualified for their finals. No Danes in the UEFA Super Cup (TV3 Puls, Fri 20:30) though. (BH)


Film of the week

Espionage during the Second World War, great cast, directed by Stephen Poliakoff, how can Glorious 39 (DRK, Fri 20:55) go wrong? In every way possible. Likewise Simon Pegg’s first Stateside vehicle, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (DR3, Fri 21:00), is deeply flawed, but has its moments. Two in total. The newish films – Fast & Furious (TV3 Puls, Thu 22:30), Jonah Hex (K5, Tue 21:00) and The Romantics (K5, Fri 21:00) – are no better, leaving us to search for salvation in the watchable Harry Houdini drama Death-defying Acts (SVT1, Tue 23:30). (BH)


Coming Soon

Orange is the new black

Boasting a healthy Metacritic score of 79, this engrossing drama from the creator of Weeds (Jenji Kohan) follows Piper (Taylor Schilling from Argo), a naive urbanite, as she learns to adapt to her new life in prison after being arrested for her past connections to an international drug operation.Based on the memoirs of a former prisoner, each episode is tightly-plotted and packed with an impressive range of human emotions. Armed with an array of characters (activist nun, trans-gendered ex-fireman, housekeeper-turned-murderer) who are both humorous and tragic, this Netflix series is “expertly and fully sketched, textured and realised”, claims the Washington Post. Convincing performances and razor-sharp dialogue help create a dramatic tension that results in an unsettlingly realistic, dramatisation of penal life for women in the US. (CJ)