Alex Winter was hit twice this year by a global epidemic lockdown, first as a director and then as an actor. The first occasion was the premiere of his new documentary “Japa” on SXSW in March “We had plane tickets, the press saw the movie and the reviews were favorable, so I waited for them to come out,” he sighed. “And a few days before our screening – literally days before, I had to call them and tell them we couldn’t go: L.A. Just went lockdown. So it was really frustrating. “She laughs.” I say that for the first few months with this precaution, I was mostly worried that my mom would die – I didn’t think so much about my short film, but it became quite annoying as the dust settled.
The issue of his return to acting in the winter became even more controversial, after he was reunited for the long-awaited tri-quail “Bill and Ted Face the Music”, his theatrical career was also denied in his native America. As a winter explanation, in both cases, victory has been snatched from the jaws of defeat: “American Music” became an amazing summer hit in North America, “Japa” it came online on Thanksgiving weekend.
In six years of making, “Japapa” offers a distinct take on the rockgranroll, depicting the turbulent lives and times of the most skilled (and high-quality) talents in the music industry. Although he died of prostate cancer in 1993, at just 52 years old, as a great winter documentary show, Japa still remains a great figure in avant-garde art. More than that, his witty, sarcastic political thinking, once considered satire, is becoming more relevant than ever.
Different Winter was talked about through Zoom before the IDFA premiere.
Why did you choose to make a film about Frank Zappa? Were you a fan
Yes, I was definitely a big fan. But the last six years were not enough to immerse him in his vault. I tend to draw on the subject of darkness, even if it is the person or subject that has somehow influenced world culture, or there is an underlying inner turmoil or conflict. These things I find very interesting. And Jampa as an artist at the time he came, and his relationship with both his art and time and politics is quite unique, but I think very strongly. I was very interested in making a film about making art in that period of American history and what would happen to a person committed to that life and what the consequences would be. This was really my primary interest and it basically driven our narrative as well. Although, obviously, face it, this is a story about Japa and his life.
It’s a huge archive, and it’s so impressive that you didn’t get distracted by it. You could make a whole different film with music alone.
Yes, I remember when I put this idea to Gayle [Zappa], Because when he hadn’t accepted some people before, he persuaded me to do it [was because] He liked to take that. He liked the idea that it wasn’t supposed to be a standard music dock, that it wouldn’t look at Frank’s album-to-album career, not through the narrowness of the lens but in the context of his time.
I didn’t ask him for the vault. He said that the story could not be told the way we wanted to tell it without Vault – the Vault spoke to his inner life in such a way that nothing outside wanted. And so from the very beginning I had a very specific agenda with elements of the vault. It was very helpful because according to you, we were able to make a 10-part miniseries, we could only make movies to make a certain album, but that was not my interest.
And Mike Nichols, the editor, and I spent several years just saving the archived media, for the first whole part of the process. Money was also paid before the film. And it allows us to see exactly what Frank’s introspection had to say. And thanks there was so much more.
With so many ingredients, how do you know which ones are useful and which ones are not?
Okay, we had the advantage of the time – which didn’t seem like a benefit at the time. It was just that we were excited to get started and we had no funding for the film. But we had the funding to save the media, which we are keen to do. It took a lot of time to spend on our media, to make it relevant and to identify it. We have even created our own proprietary file-maker database for lots of media keywords.
Mike and I looked at it, and we looked at it, and we looked at it … The way we went about sorting out the media, from general to specific, was: I wrote a kind of thesis, a kind of three-act structure, we knew it changed Going to be, however, it put Frank’s story in terms of the classical narrative and it gave us a basis to work from. But we wanted to cut wherever we could. We knew we wanted the first performance to be fairly abstract. Like any docky, but because we had a lot of media it was large size writing, it was a mix of following a structure and going with our stomachs and giving the media a chance to give us space.
How did it work?
When we found out at a very young age all these movies made by Frank that he spent a lot of time re-editing and drawing and re-planning and making collages, which gave us a starting point, but it also gave us an aesthetic direction, because he We took a lot of hints from him about making things, be it film or plane art – because he was a painter and a painter or his music, probably. So with these two things in mind, this is how we started. We were trying to follow the tenor of his style, not in a way that would be noticeable to the audience, but it would provide a kind of aesthetic way to work with our media.
It goes without saying that the stories we hear about Japa are not always flattering, but they do reveal some very interesting truths. Are you surprised?
I told Gail, literally I tied her up first, I wanted it to be skull and all, I was very aware that she had a lot of duality. Now, I’ve never seen Frank as bad or all good. Many people either respect him as a god and everyone else is wrong or they think he is just a bastard and everyone else is wrong. I’ve always seen him as more of a dimension than that, which a lot of people have done and I’m eager to get them I wasn’t interested in cracking him. I wasn’t trying to solve the jumpa puzzle. One of the reasons I make documentaries is that as a filmmaker you are not given the responsibility that you have become rigid on one side or the other and should come up with an easily digestible definition of how to make a man. In fact, it’s the opposite. You can really find out about its mysteries and inconsistencies. But I knew I would talk to people who were crazy about him. [Laughs] Just to answer your question!
How did those interviews go?
What was great about these interviews was that they were almost without exception and could actually be without exception, you came to sit with someone, and … they weren’t all [exactly] Like this, but let’s say to some people who had a larger axis to grind, sit down for an interview, you’ll start rolling and they’ll just spit vitriol for 25 minutes. And in about 25 minutes, it will move slowly – you will see their eyes weaken, just remembering how incredibly effective his tenure with him was. I was taking them there. It was not their own process, it was a process of recalling their experience.
They would end up with this kind of very Jane acceptance that he was and she was and they were extremely grateful to be able to work with him, he was very influential as an artist to bring them out of their art and who changed them. And it was literal and repetitive. And I’m very grateful for that, because that’s kind of what I was expecting and we’re trying to present that
The funny thing is, obviously for someone with such an intellectual idea, Japa can be quite ridiculous at times. You put it very well in the “Sunday Night Live” sequence …
Yes. And the thing I like about Japper’s sense of humor is that it’s not often a sense of humor in his records. The way he used humor in his records is almost like any other musical instrument. Tell me the way, Ernie Kovacs will use it, or like Spike Jones, or event-guard musicians [Edgard] Verse and others, like Albert Eiler. I could think of a whole bunch. However, like many people with a strong on-screen personality, his offscreen personality is also different. And that’s the person I was interested in, that’s why I started the film with a backstage like him and he’s joking and he’s having a lot of fun but really he’s not who he is he’s not on stage, he’s not thinking about who he’s portraying him to. And I really liked his draw, his sense of humor, he’s really who he really is and I’ve loved anchoring the movie from the beginning.
That backstage footage was shot in Prague and you get back to it at the end of the film, which becomes more clearly political. How do you feel about that part of the movie?
This was the biggest surprise for me from the vault material. It’s a question people ask me from time to time: What did I find that I didn’t really know? I mean I knew a lot about his life and obviously, there was a lot of real information that I learned using vault media. But I didn’t realize how much time he spent traveling the world. I knew he was in Prague, of course, because it was so famous, but I didn’t realize he had come to Moscow, and he had spent most of the years really researching other economics and other things. Culture and see how he can help integrate these ways and make the world a little better. The amount of money he has invested in different cultures and in different countries, even in our own government, went far beyond what I know, which was the right to vote and anti-Senate censorship hearings, things that are very well-known. He dug so deep, and he spent so much time trying to reconcile the authoritarian attacks that he spread the world – which is now clearly everywhere – and the various things he wanted to try to turn heads and be among them to appease The case may be worth as much as his. I came away with a whole new respect for him. And most of it was not universal. Most of it was in the private video in the basement.
Had any problems dealing with the Zappar family?
When I met Gayle, I made it very clear that it was going to be an independent film, with “production” meaning that our production company would make it and make the final cut. This was very important for the integrity of the film. I tend to do this or that to some degree in every project, especially if it’s a political film, where the essence of what we’re going for is so fragile that it can, unknowingly, even be destroyed.
And I didn’t want to go through a five or six year process and not even want to break it inadvertently at the other end. Gayle was right with it, so I wasn’t making it in tune with anyone. Gail was [my point of contact] I interviewed him when he was alive and I talked to him a lot and I acted very transparently. He was the right holder of the Jampa Trust and when he died [in 2015], [their son] আহমেত আমার বক্তব্য হয়ে ওঠে। এবং তাই আমি তাদের সাথে আমার যে মিডিয়া দরকার তা নিয়ে কথা বলব, বা যদি আমার কাছে এমন কিছু প্রবেশ করার দরকার নেই যা তাদের থেকে আমার নেওয়া দরকার। তবে তারা আমাকে আমার চলচ্চিত্র তৈরি করতে দিচ্ছে, এবং তাই আমাকে সত্যিই এটি নিয়ে উদ্বিগ্ন হওয়ার দরকার নেই। এর অর্থ এই নয় যে আমি এ সম্পর্কে অশ্বারোহী ছিলাম। আমি খুব বুদ্ধিমান ছিল। আমি যখন “শোবিজ বাচ্চাদের” তৈরি করেছি তখন আমি নিশ্চিত হয়েছি যে কেউ শুকিয়ে গেছে বা কোনওভাবেই শোষণের শিকার হয়নি সে বিষয়ে আমি সর্বদা খুব সচেতন I সুতরাং এটি আমার মনে না থাকার মতো নয়। তবে, একই সময়ে, এটি কোনও পরার্থপর অবস্থান সম্পর্কে নয়। এটি গল্পের প্রহরী হিসাবে আমার সম্পর্কে সত্যই আরও বেশি। গল্পটি রক্ষার জন্য পরিচালক হিসাবে প্রথম এবং সর্বাগ্রে আমার কাজ।
লোকেরা কী চলচ্চিত্র থেকে সরিয়ে নিতে চান?
ওয়েল, আমরা এই চলচ্চিত্রটি এমন লোকদের জন্য তৈরি করিনি যারা জাপার জন্য ধর্মান্ধ ছিল। আমরা যারা মুপা পছন্দ করেন না তাদের জন্য আমরা এই চলচ্চিত্রটি তৈরি করিনি। আমরা এই সিনেমাটি এমন লোকদের জন্য তৈরি করি নি যারা তাঁকে চেনে বা তাকে চেনে না। আমরা সত্যিই এটি তৈরি করেছি কারণ আমি সত্যিই আমার হৃদয়ে বিশ্বাস করেছিলাম যে একজন মানুষের গল্প হিসাবে জাপার গল্পটি অত্যন্ত জোরালো। শিল্প তৈরির অর্থ কী, একটি পরিপূর্ণ রাজনৈতিক সময়ে শিল্প তৈরির অর্থ। শিল্পী হিসাবে বেঁচে থাকার চেষ্টা করার অর্থ এবং তারপরে আপনার আস্তিনগুলি রোল করা এবং আপনার সময়ের রাজনীতিতে জড়িত হওয়া এবং কেবল একজন শিল্পী হিসাবে নিজের জন্য নয় বরং আপনার চারপাশের বিশ্বকে ঠিক করার জন্য সহায়তা করার অর্থ। এগুলি জাপার জীবনের থিম এবং এগুলি চূড়ান্ত সর্বজনীন থিম। সুতরাং আমি সত্যই বিশ্বাস করি, আপনি যদি সিনেমাটি পছন্দ করেন তবে আমরা এমন একটি চলচ্চিত্র তৈরি করেছি যা আমাদের কাছে চূড়ান্তভাবে বাধ্যকারী ব্যক্তির গল্প বলে, এবং আশা করি অন্যান্য লোকেরাও এটি অনুভব করবেন।
আপনি সর্বশেষ আইডিএফএতে থাকার পর থেকে আপনি তিনটি ডক তৈরি করেছেন, তৃতীয় বিল এবং টেড চলচ্চিত্রের জন্য আপনি কিয়ানু রিভসের সাথে পুনরায় মিলিত হয়েছেন? আপনি একটি বিরতি গ্রহণ করা হবে?
আমাদের এখনই পরিকল্পনা নেই। এটি এমন একটি বিস্মৃতকর প্রক্রিয়া ছিল, এটি একটি বৃহত থিয়েটার গ্রীষ্মের চলচ্চিত্র হতে চলেছে তা পুনরায় জানাচ্ছে। এবং আমাদের প্যান্টগুলির সিট দ্বারা – যার অর্থ আমাদের, স্টুডিওগুলি, এমনকি স্টিভেন সোডারবার্গ, নির্বাহী প্রযোজক — আমরা এই জিনিসটিকে মূলত একটি পিভিওডি রিলিজ করেছিলাম, যা ছিল মাত্র একটি বিশাল উদ্যোগ a আমরা চলচ্চিত্রটি কীভাবে পেয়েছি এবং কীভাবে চলচ্চিত্রটি ব্যবসায়ের দিক থেকে করা হয়েছিল তাতে খুব খুশি হয়েছিলাম। জুয়া শোধ করে দিয়েছিল, তবে তা আমরা জানি না। এবং তাই এমজিএম, ওরিওন সত্যই নায়ক ছিল। তারা সবার কথা শুনেছিল। তারা এমনভাবে দ্রুত গতিতে অবিশ্বাস্য কাজ করেছিল যা তারা আগে কখনও করেনি। তারা এমন কোনও স্টুডিও নয় যা এই গ্রীষ্মে করা অন্যান্য স্টুডিওগুলির মতো বড় ভিওডি রিলিজ করেছে। সুতরাং আমরা চূড়ান্ত কৃতজ্ঞ, তবে আমি আপনাকে বলতে পেরেছি, আমরাও কেবল অবিশ্বাস্যরূপে স্বস্তি পেয়েছি, কারণ এটি সম্পূর্ণ ভিন্ন পথে যেতে পারত। আমরা 10 বছর ধরে এই সিনেমাটি তৈরি করার চেষ্টা করছি। আমরা যদি 11 তম ঘন্টা ক্র্যাশ হয়ে থাকি তবে এটি সত্যিই খুব খারাপ হয়ে যেত।