With a little more than a month to go before kickoff, the Berlin Film Festival has unveiled Etienne Comar’s Django as its opening movie. A world premiere, it will also run in competition. Comar, a successful screenwriter and producer whose credits include Cannes Grand Jury Prize-winner Of Gods And Men, Haute Cuisine, My King, The Women On The 6th Floor and the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu, makes his feature directing debut with the period drama. Pathé International has sales.

Roger Arpajou
The French film revolves around guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt and his flight from German-occupied Paris in 1943. Within moments, the musician was able to reach people’s hearts with his instrument. Yet his family was harassed and hounded by the Nazis.

“Django Reinhardt was one of the most brilliant pioneers of European jazz and the father of Gypsy Swing. Django grippingly portrays one chapter in the musician’s eventful life and is a poignant tale of survival. Constant danger, flight and the atrocities committed against his family could not make him stop playing,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.

Reda Kateb (Far From Men) stars in the title role. Cécile de France (The Young Pope), Alex Brendemühl and Ulrich Brandhoff also star.

The screenplay is written by Comar and Alexis Salatko. Django Reinhardt’s music was re-recorded for the film by the Dutch jazz band Rosenberg Trio.

The film is produced by Fidélité, Arches Films and Pathé.

Berlin runs from February 9-19.