By: Martin Hafer
Debuting on Netflix on March 18th...and it's well worth your time!
I watched the movie Django several months ago at the Philadelphia Film Festival. While I love French films, I might not have watched this except that my daughter was with me and loves the music of Django Reinhardt. Who is Django Reinhart you may ask…and I had never heard of him until Sarah told me all about him. It seems that despite a serious injury that essentially turned one of his hands into a somewhat useless hook, he was one of the most gifted jazz musicians of his age…and was the rage of Europe. His music was dubbed ‘Gypsy Jazz’ because it fused traditional Romani music with 1930s jazz…and it certainly is infectious to listen to…and your feet just can’t help but tap along to the music.
This story covers mostly 1943 as well as a bit in May, 1945 at the very end of the movie. Obviously this film is not Django’s entire life story…and it's a shame but I can certainly understand why they chose this path. If you want to know more about the man, check Wikipedia…as his life story is truly amazing.
The film picks up in the middle of WWII. Django is a big star in Paris and is even loved by the occupying Nazis. What makes this so unusual is that at the same time folks adored him and his music, the Nazis hated and persecuted his people. Additionally, he played swing...a style music associated with black Americans...a group also despised by the German government. Problems develop when the Nazis insist he do a tour of Germany and Django is worried he'll never return….which was the case with so many of the Romani. So, he and his family decide to make a run for it.
The film is something I really appreciated because tons of films have been done about the Jewish Holocaust. These are excellent films but the Romani were also gassed in large numbers and I can't think of a single film that covers it other than this one. It makes for a sad viewing experience...but also a story well worth your time.
Fortunately, the film is arriving on Netflix in the States on March 18th and is well worth your time…I know I am very glad I got to see this expertly crafted picture.