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Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

A portrait of avant-garde rock musician Frank Zappa compiled from three decades worth of interviews and performances that reveal as much about the zeitgeist as the musician himself.


“Being interviewed is one of most abnormal things you can do to somebody else,“ Frank Zappa explains, and makes his stance towards conventional journalism clear. “Nobody has seen the real Frank Zappa.” The musician finds a drastic comparison: “it’s two steps removed from the inquisition.” That isn’t just a sarcastic joke or a provocation, which is what one of the most enigmatic and controversial (pop) artists of the century is known for; Thorsten Schütte’s portrait shows it is a correct assessment. Zappa sat on the hot seat trying to justify his work for a majority of his career because his counterparts kept insisting on measuring him against norms that have little to do with his world view. The fact that Schütte succeeds in developing an impressive portrayal of the avant-garde musician despite his skepticism is a testament to the illuminating interplay between outside perception and self-perception that occurs during an interview situation. Similar to how the show trials of the inquisition provide much more insight into the mindsets and intentions of the interrogator’s function as a representative of the dominant historical stream, the social changes during the 3 decades in which Frank Zappa was interviewed are clear to see. His statements about art, freedom, capitalism, and totalitarianism are consistent, but the candidness that the mainstream media was finally forced to confront was made possible through the pioneer work of free spirits like himself.

Jens Mayer

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words
Deutschland/Frankreich 2015, 93 min
Genre: Documentary, Music Films
Director: Thorsten Schütte
Author: Thorsten Schütte
Distributor: Arsenal Filmverleih
FSK: 12
Release: 08.12.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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