While it’s been over twenty years since the great Frank Zappa left the planet, there’s been surprisingly little in the media about his life and times.
Director Thorsten Schutte finds a nice way of getting Frank back in the public eye, through a solid documentary featuring Zappa interviews, concert footage and appearances. Like The Beatles Anthology before it, Eat That Question tells the artist’s story by using his own words.
I’m a big fan, so I’ve seen some of the footage Schutte utilizes, like Zappa playing bicycle with Steve Allen and Frank’s final interview before dying from cancer. Thankfully, Schutte (with help from the Zappa Family Trust) has unearthed a lot of rare footage, footage even the most ardent fan might not be familiar with.
This isn’t a concert film, but it does have some great concert moments, enough so that fans of his music will be satisfied. The fact that Zappa was a brilliant philosopher and extremely wise man was sometimes lost in the controversy he could cause with his lyrics, especially in the late seventies.
Schutte’s film gives us plenty of Zappa talking, and he’s simply one of the most engaging speakers who ever walked the planet. It’s also quite the kick to see this gathering of interviews and interviewees, some of whom Frank didn’t exactly hit it off with. If he didn’t like the interviewer, he still made the session interesting. I found myself missing the man very much when the movie was over.