The mythical anti-hero of western cinema Django Comes to TV with new Sky-branded series, created by Leonardo Fasoli and Maddalena Ravagli (the same guys from Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero) and directed by Francesca Comencini (daughter of Luigi, who never made any westerns), who also serves as art director in the series.
The production, with an international scope and shot entirely in English with an all-star cast that includes Matthias Schoenaerts in the titular role and Noomi Rapace in that of the antagonist, is immediately striking in the construction of the sets and locations used (in Romania, around Bucharest and in the Danube area) and represents the television debut of the famous film character created by Sergio Corbucci, the ‘second best spaghetti western director ever,’ to steal a line from the extradiegetic narrator of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Django, the series is also the only project directly related to the seminal 1966 masterpiece (cited in the opening credits as ‘loosely inspired by’), whose success at the time scattered around theaters so many unofficial ‘sequels’ (the various Django shoots first by Alberto De Martino, Few dollars for Django by León Klimovsky, Django the bastard by Sergio Garrone, Django challenges Sartana by William Redford: how wonderful, when Italy was still going strong in genre cinema) that however had nothing to do with Corbucci or the historical protagonist Franco Nero. The latter, returned only on a handful of occasions to the world of Django, first in the “official sequel” Django 2: The Great Return of Ted Archer and later for a cameo in Tarantino’s Django: Unchained: the actor, whom rumors want grappling with a new film, Django Lives!, whose development was temporarily halted because of Covid, also appears in the Sky series for another cameo (so keep an eye out).
A new Django for a new audience
And speaking of eyes: it was the gaze, filmed as in a comic strip, that was the characteristic stamp of the spaghetti western according to Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci, and indeed Francesca Comencini seems to want to reproduce that lesson on TV. They will be so many details of the eyes (even eyes that cannot see) on which the series will focus over the course of its episodes (ten in total), during which the audience will be introduced to one of the best western worlds ever seen on the small screen (mark 1883, a Paramount+ series that we’ll be talking about very soon).
Texas, fine 1800. Django raggiunge una città riarsa, sul fondo di un cratere: è New Babylon (che non è Babylon di Damien Chazelle), l’insediamento dove spera di incontrare gli uomini che hanno assassinato la sua famiglia. Qui però scopre che sua figlia Sarah è sopravvissuta, ha ormai vent’anni e si appresta a sposare John Ellis, che di New Babylon è il fondatore. Lei non vuole che Django le stia tra i piedi, ma il pistolero non è uomo da arrendersi e non lascerà nulla d’intentato pur di avere un’altra possibilità con sua figlia.
If Django is the story of a man who, having set out in search of revenge, ends up fighting for something greater, Django character becomes parable of changing times, while remaining essentially the same: amid calibrated quotations and amusing references to the past (from the first Django to Tarantino’s Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.) the tough antihero who became an African-American with Jamie Foxx once again finds The way of approaching our contemporary (we won’t say how, but you can get there) without forsaking the fundamental traits of a season of Italian cinema now trying to be reborn.
Amidst the hyper-violent details of a lawless world of settling scores and summary hangings, Django above all tells of the unspoken suffering of a man who this time, perhaps, underneath more than revenge is seeking forgiveness.