‘Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in his Own Words’ – More Than Just a Music Doc

Frank Zappa @ Fremantlemedia North America_1971_What's My Line, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. Frank Zappa @ Fremantlemedia North America_1971_What's My Line, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in his Own Words is a solid music documentary directed by Thorsten Schütte that examines the public persona of Frank Zappa (1940-1993), American musician, composer, record producer and filmmaker.

Overall, it’s funny and thought-provoking, with stellar editing and a proper balance of footage from performances, interviews and behind the scenes during his 30-odd year career (odd to be sure).

While there are documentaries that go in depth into the career of Frank Zappa, this gem tends its focus on Zappa’s public persona. We get to peer into his thoughts on topics ranging from censorship, groupies, to his critical views on the music industry. It leaves out the particulars in favour of looking at the bigger picture and once I started to understand his point of view on certain topics, his music seemed to become much more accessible to me. As someone who’s never been into Zappa before, this was a great starting point.

Frank Zappa @ Zappa Family Trust, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Frank Zappa @ Zappa Family Trust, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

What really makes this one stand out is simply how interesting Zappa was as an artist and entertainer. He seemed like such a cool dude — some sort of messianic moustachioed anti-hero of music. I was surprised by his well-spoken, almost rehearsed manner, which saw him argue his point with literally anyone, anywhere, anytime. He had a burning passion to free people from the conventions of music (and life) and it becomes infectious as you watch on. A punchline or some sort of harsh truth came from his mouth in a steady flow and it felt as though the movie suffered when he wasn’t in the frame. Luckily however, there are only a few of these moments.

I feel like I’m not doing justice to Zappa’s eloquence. All I can do now is highly recommend this documentary to everyone. Please go and watch this now. Thanks.

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words is now playing at Cinema du Parc.

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