2016, France, 102’, Color, French
Director: Etienne Comar
Cast: Reda Kateb, Cécile De France, Beata Palya
A musician’s struggle to survive and save the gypsy melodies of his guitar in between the war.
The impressive directorial debut from Etienne Omar tells the extraordinary life story of legendary French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and his adventures trying to flee from Nazi persecution during World War II.
Paris, 1943… During the German Occupation, gypsy Django Reinhardt, a true hero of the guitar, is at the peak of his career. Django famously mainly played the guitar with only two fingers, after the fourth and fifth fingers on his left hand were badly injured in a fire which engulfed the caravan from the times when he was living as a nomad. Every night he has Paris reeling to his swing music at the Folies Bergères, while his gypsy brethren are hunted down and massacred throughout Europe. As a gypsy musician Django and his guitar are also targeted by the Nazi violence as the melodies of Django is prohibited. When the Nazi propaganda ministry wants to send him to Berlin for a series of concerts, he senses imminent danger and decides to flee to Switzerland with the help of one of his admirers, a courageous revolutionary woman Louise. In Django’s escape journey he is not alone, he also has to save his pregnant wife Naguine and his old mother Negros. And of course, his always carry his guitar as a companion through this long journey which almost became a part of him… But their escape is more complicated than anticipated. They en up plunged in turmoil of World War 2.
“Django Melodies” is an extra-ordinarily passionate survival story and a genuine bio-drama reflecting how Django Reinhardt remained an exceptional performer and composer during these hard times, who resisted with his art and his sense of humor, constantly seeking a form of musical perfection. There is more than fear, but an endless adrenaline, a great life passion and high spirit in Django’s adventures escape.