"Django" to open Berlinale
Berlin (dpa) – The Berlin Film Festival opens next month with the world premiere of a movie about the life of the legendary jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt, the Berlinale said on Wednesday.
Etienne Comar's "Django" focuses on the Belgian-born Reinhardt's escape from Nazi-occupied Paris in 1943 and stars French actor Reda Kateb in the title role.
Despite his popularity as a musician at the time, Reinhardt was hounded by the Nazis because of his family background as a member of the Sinti group of Roma.
"Django Reinhardt was one of the most brilliant pioneers of European jazz and the father of Gypsy Swing," said Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.
"'Django' grippingly portrays one chapter in the musician's eventful life and is a poignant tale of survival," Kosslick said.
Django marks Comar's debut as a feature film director after he establishing a name for himself as a screenwriter and producer.
Comar's movie will also be one of about 20 films expected to compete for the festival's top prizes, including the Golden Bear for best picture.
Next year will mark the 67th Berlinale, which is one of world's leading film festivals alongside Venice and Cannes.