Born January 1910 in Liberchies (Belgium), Django Reinhardt was raised within the nomadic life of a Rom gypsy caravan, following the various Gypsy tribes to transient locations with primitive conditions. Reinhardt's nickname was "Django", the Romani word for "I awake". Reinhardt never set foot in a real house or decent habitable structure until he was 20, but grew up living in the ignominious slums and squalor of outer Paris near the Choisy Gate.
Django developed a strong interest in music which resulted in his first instrumental escapades on violin and banjo. Being exposed to the Gypsy music mixed with a vast array of European genres, he picked up and absorbed a huge pallet of harmonic tonalities at an early age.
Django Reinhardt quickly became facile on the violin and switched to guitar in his early teens. By age 13 he was already performing with accordionist Guerino in the Rue Monge. Playing around the Paris environs and astonishing listeners with his prodigious skills on the guitar and violin, he played with numerous small bands eventually recording with accordionist Jean Vaissade on the Ideal Label.
Uniquely, Django Reinhardt fits several simultaneous archetypes. He is the streetwise kid turned celebrity. He is the miraculous surivor of an accident who went on to overcome his handicap. He is the illiterate who used musical notes as a universal language. He is the whimsical musician who defied every setback. Django was already a legend in his own lifetime, and this film tells of the life and times of a genius to whom death came too early. Yet another, final archetype. But above all it allows us to discover the dazzling talent of one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the twentieth century. Recorded in Paris and Île-de-France, 2010.