A film by Alain Gomis
2022, 65 minutes
No. 380

In December 1969, Thelonious Monk arrived in Paris for a concert at the tail end of a European tour. While there, the legendary jazz pianist was invited to appear on a television interview program, where he would perform and answer questions in an intimate, one-on-one studio stage. 

Using newly discovered footage from the recording of the interview, versatile French-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis (Félicité) reveals the troubling dynamic between Monk and his white interviewer, Henri Renaud, and how Monk stands his ground despite being antagonized by Renaud’s trivializing approach. 

Gomis’s gripping film is a fascinating behind-the-scenes documentary; a subtle yet searing exposé of casual racism; and, above all, a chance to see one of the monumental geniuses of 20th-century music at work.

Official Selection, New York Film Festival
Official Selection, Director's Fortnight, Cannes

Rewind and Play dazzles! A gleaming portrait of Monk at work.” – The New York Times

Rewind and Play illuminates Thelonious Monk in a light in which we’ve rarely seen him… What Gomis has uncovered in these rushes is fascinating. Deftly examines the dynamic between Monk and those responding to his work, then and now.” – Reverse Shot

“A remarkable film at many levels….  A moving portrait of the artist… A treasure trove of Monk in performance.” – The New Yorker

Rewind and Play captures, with lacerating clarity, both the irrepressible and boundary-breaking genius of the musician and the knee-jerk racism to which he was constantly subjected.” – Film Comment

Rewind and Play makes of Monk a man again, one who was gifted, loved, harassed. Gomis is one of the few who could be trusted to assemble something so absorbing with this footage. Shows not only a genius’s performance but also the work of crafting a public image.” – 4 Columns

“The brilliance of the film is the efficiency with which it exposes the racist power structures that framed much of Monk’s career, and by extension the careers of so many Black musicians.” – Filmmaker Magazine