Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

Directed by Thorsten Schutte, Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words is a documentary film about the life and career of experimental rock artist Frank Zappa. Told through archival footage and various audio interviews, the film follows Zappa’s life from being the satirist who made fun of rock n’ roll in the 1960s to venturing into the world of classical music in the late 80s and early 1990s until his death on December 4, 1993. The result is an odd yet fascinating film about one of popular music’s most eccentric figures.

Chronicling footage from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s just before his death in late 1993, the film follows the career of Frank Zappa. Known for his satirical take on rock n’ roll and fusing it with elements of R&B, blues, jazz, and classical music, Zappa and his band in the Mother of Reinvention would play all kinds of music with Zappa serving as a conductor rather than as a leader. Through an array of rare footage including interviews and television appearances as well as an appearance on a TV show hosted by Steve Allen in the early 1960s where he would do an orchestra with two bicycles. The film has Zappa talking about his own views in the world of music as well as art, politics, and other things. Even as there’s footage of Zappa directing his film 200 Motels as well as conducting classical pieces and him at work.

With the aid of Willibald Wonneberger editing the film and sound mixers Marc Fragstein and Armelle Mahe, director Thorsten Schutte doesn’t go for anything conventional as it chronicles many interviews from the 70s and 80s where Zappa would talk about certain periods in his career. The film also feature footage of Zappa in the mid-1980s fighting the PMRC over censorship which is a moment that he is known for by the public eye as well as his large following in Europe including Czechoslovakia where he visited the country in 1990 to hold a concert and allow his music to be sold legally. The interviews that are shown are quite straightforward but also show Zappa’s unique personality as someone who never takes himself very seriously. Even as a musician where he is about the absurd and not willing to be politically or socially correct as the film also feature concert footages that add to his legend.

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words is a marvelous film from Thorsten Schutte about the legendary artist. It’s a film that doesn’t play by the rules in terms of telling the story of this man as it offers a lot to people who don’t know much about him but also something for his fans to be engaged by. In the end, Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words is a remarkable film from Thorsten Schutte.

© thevoid99 2017

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