PARIS– After world premiering on opening night at Berlin Film Festival, Etienne Comar’s ‘Django’ will have its North American bow at the start of the 22nd Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the Manhattan-set festival organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and French film promotion org UniFrance.
Rather than a traditional biopic, the film chronicles the tumultuous life of jazz legend Django Reinhardt and his family during WWII and his escape from Nazi-occupied France. The film stars rising French actor Reda Kateb (“Hippocrate”) in the title role, opposite Cécile de France (“The Young Pope”) who plays Reinhardt’s friend and muse.
“Django” marks the directorial debut of Comar, a well-seasoned French producer and screenwriter whose credits include Maiwenn’s “Mon Roi” and Xavier Beauvois’s “Of Gods and Men,” both of which competed at Cannes. “Mon Roi” won best actress (for Emmanuelle Bercot) and “Of Gods and Men” took home the grand prize.
Comar, Kateb and de France will be on hand at the premiere of “Django” on opening night of the Rendez-Vous at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Meanwhile, the festival will wrap with Jérôme Salle’s “The Odyssey,” a drama centering on legendary explorer-turned-filmmaker Jacques Cousteau (Lambert Wilson) and his relationship with his devoted wife (Audrey Tautou) and conflicted son (Pierre Niney).
Salle, who previously directed “Zulu” and “Largo Winch,” will attend the screening and will participate in a Q&A during the festival.
““We are thrilled to partner for a 22nd year with UniFrance to bring these uniquely French stories to New York,” said Florence Almozini, the associate director of programming for the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “Our opening and closing night selections, both exemplary biopics, are just an exciting preview of the complete lineup to come.”
Isabelle Giordano, the executive director of UniFrance, pointed out that both “Django” and “The Odyssey” “center on legendary French cultural figures and contain messages about the historic importance of the arts and the environment that are more timely now than ever.”
“This year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema selection, highlighted by our opening and closing films, continues our tradition of showcasing a combination of rising and established French filmmakers with an emphasis on dynamic voices and a wide range of genres,” Giordano added.
The festival will run March 1-12. The full program will be unveiled in the coming weeks.