Magazine article Variety

Comer Sees Modern Day Issues in Jazz Legend's Life

Magazine article Variety

Comer Sees Modern Day Issues in Jazz Legend's Life

Article excerpt

"DJANGO," THE OPENING film of the Berlin Film Festival, may reflect many parallels of today's politically charged era, but for French filmmaker Etienne Comer, it was initially the special ability of musicians to live in their own artistic space, protected from the world around them, that led him to tell the story of famed French jazz virtuoso Django Reinhardt.

The film centers on Reinhardt's flight from German-occupied Paris in 1943. As a member of the Sinti minority, Reinhardt's family faced harassment by the Nazis.

At a press conference ahead of the film's opening night premiere in Berlin, Comer said that the two years in Reinhardt's life that he focused on in the film "parallels our own time," marked by the plight of refugees and increasing hostility towards minorities in Europe and the U.S.

"I wanted to show a musician in a complex historical structure, and there are parallels with today's refugees, with preventing certain people from traveling, of people who don't like certain ideas."

The film also illustrates the freedom that music provides, Comer added. "Gypsies never had their own homeland, but the music is intrinsic to their lifestyle, it provides them with a vitality that keeps them going. …

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