In the last years of his life, Frank Zappa spent much of his remaining time doing what he loved best: composing.
The 1991 documentary Peefeeyatko, by German-born filmmaker and composer Henning Lohner, takes us inside Zappa’s secluded world to watch and listen as he creates symphonic compositions on an early digital synthesizer called a Synclavier. The film was made not long after Zappa learned he had terminal cancer. Like its subject, Lohner’s film is eccentric, with scenes from monster movies spliced in with footage of Zappa working and talking. “Peefeeyatko,” we learn at the end, is Bigfoot-language for “Give me some more Apples.”
Zappa talks about his wide range of musical tastes–how from an early age he would listen to rhythm and blues one minute and the French experimental composer Edgard Verèse the next. The film includes interviews with his fellow avant-garde composers John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis and Karlheinz Stockhausen. To describe his radical eclecticism, Zappa says: “The easiest way to sum up the aesthetic would be: anything, anytime, anyplace for no reason at all. And I think with an aesthetic like that you can have pretty good latitude for being creative.”
Peefeeyatko runs 59 minutes, and will be added to our expanding collection of Free Movies Online.