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Zappa is an American documentary film of the year 2020, written and directed by Alex Winter, about the life and work of musician Frank Zappa. Including interviews with Steve Wai, Pamela De Barres, Gail Zappa, Ian Underwood, Ruth Underwood and archival material from Wenzel Havel and Bruce Bikford.

Reviews [Click on the links for more information] :

The winter gives the film a wild and rabid (but very coherent) rhythm, which reflects the speed with which the main character has worked. The music was not available to Frank Zappa. It was vital and life revealing. The film recognizes and notes this point of view. In the end you get a good feeling for the mixture of mischief and rebellion that has gripped his entire career. aisle seat

We have seen on several occasions young Zappa and several members of the Mother of Invention put their legs above their heads in a show of youthful and retrograde shamelessness. But he’s performative, he’s part of the act. Zappa was even serious about the mockery. That keeps me from liking his music, but it certainly makes him a good subject for a documentary. The pretense of a battleship

Not everything is fully explored (I’d like to know more about Zappa’s relationship with Captain Beafhart, but it’s probably a documentary), and only a handful of songs are fully presented, but that’s the danger of condensing such a varied career into a feature film. There’s material that even the most obsessed Zappa fan has never seen before, but it’s presented in a way that can simply excite a new generation of fans. Boston-Hazel

… … A well-thought-out film that not only benefits from access to the musician’s personal safe, but also helps to secure its contents […] The result will not only be noticed by fans, but will also be useful for those of us who remain on the sidelines – a pathetic portrait that does not shun the decorative side of Zappa, but is also a good argument for the legitimacy of his art, which has always confused those who expected it to be labelled. Hollywood journalist

Although some of Zappa’s lyrics have been criticized as sexist and frivolous […], this aspect of his musical work is largely ignored. Another problem is that the lack of a complete interpretation of his songs will not fully contribute to his musical genius […] Moreover, the film is a complex and surprisingly nice portrait of an artist who challenged another drummer (or two drummers) by walking in unison. RogerEbert.com

As his former Lithuanian ex-Ruth Underwood says about one of his works …….. you couldn’t really place it. Sounds like rock and roll… It’s jazz… It’s pop music… No, it’s not. Not at all. What the hell is this? It’s Zappa! Zapp Alex Winter is one of the best documentaries about the artist, which should easily be included in the Best Films 2020 section. Comments on the screen

Like a rich three-dimensional portrait, Zappa succeeds in being immediately impressed by his talent and realizes that he is a pain in the ass, although he does not limit himself to this observation. It won’t be perfect, says Zappa in the first scene of the documentary, knowing he’s a bit rusty after years on stage. It’ll just be music. Sloping magazine

The film could find layers of intimacy through interviews, which it does to some extent.  I listened with great pleasure to his wife Gail Zappa and former musician Ruth Underwood thinking about their own experiences.  But all of Zappa’s memories are so strongly connected to his specific and idiosyncratic personality that even people who were really close to him are still trying to understand him. Wiley Pishet.

Technical details :

129 minutes

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