Rewind & Play
France, Germany, 2022, 65'
December 1989. Thelonious Monk, on a European tour, is in Paris to appear on the TV show Portrait de jazz. The musician is ill at ease. Sweating, he speaks with difficulty. He does not understand why he has to go along with a schedule and provide answers that meet someone else’s expectations. But then he sits down at the piano and magic happens: his fingers flow over the keyboard, outlining the world in which he would like to live, and express freely.
With his first documentary, Alain Gomis does an extraordinary job using archival footage: he mixes the temporal levels, cuts and splices in the same way as Monk’s, who quits a phrase to digress and then comes back on it when you least expect, making tangible the physical and spiritual distance between the musician and the narrow invisible box in which the French TV host tries to force him. An ‘impossible’ interview that discloses the incompatibility of two opposed worlds of the society of the spectacle and lays bare the fragility of the artist, a solitary giant surrounded by diligent Lilliputians.
“Monk, why did you put your piano right in the kitchen?,” “Because it was the only room large enough to contain it.”