REWIND & PLAY

  • Alain Gomis
  • France, Germany
  • 2022

On December 15, 1969, Thelonious Monk landed in Paris for an upcoming concert and was immediately taken to a French television station where he was met by musician and producer Henri Renaud to record for the Jazz Portrait program. The broadcast lasted 30 minutes, but the session itself lasted two hours. Two hours that the great jazz icon spent under the scorching studio lights, surrounded by an army of cameramen whose language he did not understand, and subjected to the dehumanization of the media machine that reduces an artist's life and work to choppy soundbites and trivial anecdotes reduced.

In Rewind & Play, Alain Gomis reassembles the raw material from this session and reveals the truth behind the media image. Through rhythmic syncopations similar to Monk's, the director undermines the linearity of the dictated narrative by allowing silent passages to speak for Monk's muted reactions, while repeated questions reveal the underlying racism of the "jazz portrait." Although close-ups of painful eyes and streams of sweat bear witness to the ordeal, the performance frees Monk, and in return Gomis gives him back the possibility of self-expression.

“It brings tears to my eyes when I see what my father has been through.” T.S. Monk Jr. Andrei Tănăsescu

  • Alain Gomis

    The French-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis studied art history at the Sorbonne (France). He made his directorial debut in 2002 with L'Afrance, a film about the struggles of migrants in France, which was awarded the Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. His film Andalucia was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. Aujourd'hui (TEY), which screened in competition at the Berlinale, won a Golden Stalion at the Fespaco. He returned to the Berlinale in 2017 with Félicité. The film won the Grand Jury Prize, a second Gold Stalion at the Fespaco and represented Senegal at the Oscars, where it was shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film.

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