As someone who left his native country South Africa for the Netherlands in 1983 to avoid being conscripted into the Apartheid-era army, and working at the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement (AABN) from 1983 to 1986 as a researcher/activist of sorts, only to return in 1999 to finally meet his biological father and change his name (originally born and directing as Ian Kerkhof and unchristening himself "Aryan Kaganof"), Aryan Kaganof has certainly witnessed the dramatic changes of his socially shifting homeland in his lifetime. Admittedly, SMS Sugar Man is far from the sort of race-mixing melodrama that I would have expected to have been directed by someone who actively fought against apartheid, thereupon leading me to believe that Kaganof has a much more thoughtful and honest view of South African race relations, not unlike satirical Afrikaner comic artist Anton Kannemeyer (aka “Joe Dog”) – who while working with blackface and stereotypes of blacks as unsalvageable savages, also portrays the stereotypes of the wretched mainstream ‘white liberal’ – as the film portrays an unsavory underworld that acts as a metaphor for post-apartheid Africa as a whole; a country where the former subservient blacks are now subjugating their former subjugators. Interestingly enough, many of the Bantu clients in SMS Sugar Man, for a variety reasons including disdain for father and assumed impotence, don’t actually screw the seductive and sensuous sallow sluts that they have bought with their carnal currency. In fact, one of the sapless jigaboo johns is merely satisfied with having one the of saucy streetwalkers jumping up and down on the bed thereupon mimicking the sounds of heated copulation, while he – fully dressed and nowhere near the voluptuous, lecherous lady – tells his friend on the phone, like a shameless braggart that, “she’s loving it, sweet white bitch” in a shallow and doubly impotent display of his schmaltzy power to buy corrupt crack cunts. Indeed, the myth of negro sexual virility is nowhere to be found in SMS Sugar Man and the only true “pimp” as the more learned brothers like to say is the Sugar Man; a dangerous yet dedicated Don Juan that keeps his bitches in check and has even sired a son with one of these sweet yet sour sugars.
Knowing Kaganof’s previous cinematic efforts, I honestly thought it was dubious how SMS Sugar Man would play out, especially with the Afrikan Aryan auteur himself as the fierce flesh-peddler, yet the flagrant filmmaker does the seemingly impossible, especially as far as I am concerned as a hater of silverseen whore-hawking anti-heros as seen on MTV, by playing a posolutely palatable, personable and even pleasing pimp. Naturally, being a work that was shot on a consumer grade cellphone camera – a feature generally used by teenage girls to sext salacious shots to their 35-year old gym teachers and by mindless middle-class folks to film their elderly dogs haphazardly humping furniture – the film does feature its fair share of aesthetically unpleasing pixilation, but this ultimately adds to the lavishly stylized sleaze that is SMS Sugar Man, so much so that the 'digital dark' is surely more effective in Kaganof's low-budget work than it was in David Lynch's aesthetically daunting dance in digital diarrhea Inland Empire (2006). If I learn anything more about the director after watching this film, it is that few other modern filmmakers have shown such a keen particular propensity at reinventing their aesthetic, style, and canvas; a seemingly damning and disorderly filmmaking approach with which Kaganof seems to work best. Showing he is no proponent of so-called 'affirmative action' nor does he back slave-morality, Kagnof stated of SMS Sugar Man to a newspaper: "It has really disappointed me that none of the reviews (of the movie) to date has picked up on what I think is a major theme: the way the strategy of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) serves to emasculate black men, to in fact deny them the very thing it claims to give them. Power cannot be given, it must be exerted." Indeed, the Sugar Man may dip his dick in the same honeypots as his jigga johns, but he also has sovereignty over his saccharine seductresses, which cannot be said of the pitiful pickaninnies that buy them.