Iconoclastic composer and musician Frank Zappa was an unforgettable character, aggravating and fascinating, whose music never became “popular,” but who had an enthusiastic worldwide following, including in Lithuania where fans erected a statue of him. This engaging, intimate portrait reveals a 20th-century musical genius: a self-taught composer, musician, bandleader, producer and independent thinker who created blunt, eccentric and satirical compositions, moving freely between jazz and rock, penning electronic and orchestral works, as well as novelty music (“Valley Girl”). Zappa, who testified before Congress against music censorship, was for decades a brilliant and uncompromising voice of dissent; his provocative worldview reverberates to the present day. He combined acerbic, playful humor with political wit, tempered his borderline misanthropy with a high regard for human potential, and had a strong belief in free speech and the ideal of democracy. Told entirely through choice archival footage culled from the performer's 30-year career, the film explores Zappa's unconventional and irreverent handling of the media, his witty self-dramatization and his irrepressible quest for enlightenment.
Landmark Presents an Exclusive Filmmaker Letter from director Thorsten Schütte