In December 1969, Thelonious Monk was filmed by a French television team before his concert in Paris. The footage shows the frightening way in which the musician is exposed to stereotypes and how he tries to evade them.
REWIND & PLAY portrays an exceptional artist whose sole passion is his music, yet is confronted with a ridiculous and repulsive reproduction of clichés. The phantasmagorical television shots expose how caricatures are produced, revealing smiling individuals who feign admiration, yet remain insensitive, ambiguous and repugnant, holding the microphone without listening, marveling without seeing. It’s as if Monk had landed on another planet, where a portrait of him is to be created, one over which he has no control. The repetition of such painful experiences have exhausted him over the years. Fortunately, he plays the piano and, in doing so, he expresses more than anything he could have ever said.
REWIND & PLAY was screened in the Berlinale Forum program in 2022. More information about the film can be found here.