Rewind & Play
France, Germany 2022. 65 Min.
Color. English, French/ EN
Intro Essay – Twisted Tales: Power and Performance in Mutzenbacher and Rewing & Play by Jesse Cumming
On December 15, 1969, Thelonious Monk landed in Paris for an upcoming concert and was immediately whisked off to a French television station where he was to be interviewed by musician-producer Henri Renaud for a recording on the program Jazz Portrait. The aired segment ran for 30 minutes, yet the recording session itself lasted two hours – which the great jazz icon spent under the baking-hot studio lights, surrounded by an army of cameramen speaking a language he did not understand and a media-machine’s dehumanizing exigency to reduce an artist’s life and work to a series of cued soundbites and trivial anecdotes.
With Rewind & Play, Alain Gomis reassembles that session’s raw footage, freeing truth from mediated image. Through rhythmic syncopation similar to Monk’s own, Gomis undercuts the linearity of dictated narrative by letting silent passages speak for Monk’s muted reactions, while repeated lines of questioning reveal the subliminal racism of “jazz portraiture.” Even as close-ups of pained eyes and streams of sweat become a testament to this punishing ordeal, it is through performance that Monk regains liberation and Gomis, in turn, restores him the agency of self-representation.
“It brings tears to my eyes when I see the shit that my father was going through.” T.S. Monk Jr.
|Sound Design||Matthieu Deniau|
|Production Company||Anouk Khélifa (Sphere Films), Arnaud Dommerc (Andolfi)|
|World Sales||Andolfi / Sphere Films|