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Bill and Ted actor turned director Alex Winter brings a fan’s eye and a shared maverick sensibility to this suitably unruly documentary about rock musician and composer Frank Zappa. His music, it’s fair to say, is not for everyone, but the film succeeds in conveying the exhilarating connection felt by those who get it.
Long-term Zappa collaborator Ruth Underwood plays the piano part of The Black Page, a piece described as being “the forefront of innovation in regard to rhythmic polymetric notation”. Her delighted smile when she nails it perfectly matches a photo of the same moment, on stage several decades previously, with Zappa beaming approval back at her.
Winter had a lot to work with: Zappa kept an exhaustive archive of recordings and material, documenting every aspect of his wide-ranging career and frequently recalcitrant public persona. Key to the success of the film is the editing, a pinballing assault of free association, claymation and gleeful profanity, which goes some way towards recreating what it must have been like to spend time inside Zappa’s head.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Zappa review – a maverick sensibility | Documentary films