Runtime 117 minutes
This is the highly fictionalized biopic of guitarist Django Reinhart (Reda Kateb) directed by Etienne Cobar. While there was such a person, apparently nobody knows what he really looked like (according to Cobar there are only two photographs of him extant) or sounded like.
The story is set in France in 1943 as the Germans are in total control of Paris. Encouraged by his mistress, Louise de Clerk (Cécile de France), he reluctantly flees Paris to the Swiss border and plans to escape.
It’s not history, but it’s a pretty good movie.
While he did apparently escape to Switzerland, what we see in the film is total fiction, especially his mistress, Louise, who never existed.
If you like jazz guitar (I don’t) there is some music in the film. In fact it opens with a seven minute scene of Django playing.
It’s a tense escape story but it leaves a lot of holes that go pretty much unexplained, but I guess that’s because Cobar and screenwriter Alexis Salatko made the entire thing up. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a good movie. And to be fair to them, Cobar chose a time in Django’s life where the facts are just simply unknown. As a result, we really don’t learn much about the real Django. This is just one man’s take on what might have happened. It’s not history, but it’s a pretty good movie.
One objection I had to it was that it was too dark. I don’t mean emotionally; I mean that the scenes are all pretty much too dark referring to an absence of light. Maybe Cobar was trying to capture the darkness of life under the Nazis, but I would have preferred that the light be more natural. Frankly, it was often just hard to see.