Under the Radar DVD of the Week: "200 Motels"
This week, the most offbeat DVD to appear on release lists is:
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were at their surreal, psychedelic peak in 1971 when they came under the camera eye of famed British director Tony Palmer for a freewheeling bit of cinema tomfoolery that became the cult film “200 Motels.”
Shot on videotape and edited with a wild guerilla abandon, the film achieved legendary status among ’70s rock fans before disappearing into the vaults of legal limbo. On Tuesday, the documentary comes out for the first time on DVD in a remastered version that includes a detailed production booklet plus a specially recorded director’s commentary giving insights and anecdotes of the true story behind this flawed masterpiece.
“200 Motels” purported to be a mondo look at the craziness and grind of life on the road for touring rock musicians. Less a coherent documentary than a surrealistic series of songs, skits, cartoon interludes, insider jokes and daffy performance pieces, the film offered a crude but dead-on testament to Zappa’s musical brilliance and off-the-wall sense of absurdity.
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