SUMMER '82 - WHEN ZAPPA CAME TO SICILY

By Salvo CUCCIA

BARAERA S.L. - as PROD

Documentary - Production 2012


    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • ITALY, USA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 0.3 - 0.6 M$
    • Director(s)
    • Salvo CUCCIA
    • Writer(s)
    • Salvo CUCCIA
    • Producer(s)
    • Eleonora CORDARO (Abra&Cadabra Srl)
    • Synopsis
    • A 20 year old longs to see his idol in concert, but fails to achieve his goal.
      His birthday was July 14th. He was in love with rock music, but most of all he loved Frank Zappa’s music. On July 14, 1982 Frank Zappa was booked for a concert in his town, Palermo. The young man was doing the obligatory military service in northern Italy. He and his father drove more than 1000 miles, from the north to the south of Italy, just to go to reach the concert in Sicily, but he arrived late. Two months later, his father died, changing his prospective forever.
      About 30 years later that same guy is a film director, and he is going to put together the fragments of that period to tell interweaving stories.
      First of all, he got in contact Massimo Bassoli. Massimo was a Zappa’s fan and in 1972 he had the chance of meeting his idol and became his good friend. In 1982, Frank Zappa was doing his concerts in Italy, and Massimo Bassoli was with him. The last concert was in Palermo. Massimo tells the story of that last concert: police breaking off the concert by launching tear gas, the contingent situation in Sicily (mafia, Santa Rosalia, Italy winning World Cup of soccer, and the fights between police and the people during the concert). Then Massimo explains the trip from Palermo to Partinico. He went there with Frank Zappa the day before the concert. Partinico was the hometown of the great musician’s father and grandfather.
      For the director it is the chance to relive that time and put that historical period in focus by contextualizing that his story in the moment using a quick sequence of stock footage showing what was going on all over the world during the same period Frank Zappa was in concert: Falklands war, Lebanon war; while in Sicily there were assassinations of important government figures and a mafia war.
      *****
      Salvo met Massimo Bassoli and then Zappa family. Thanks to Salvo and Massimo two of the Frank Zappa’s children, Dweezil and Diva Zappa, have had the chance to discover their roots.
      During the drive to Partinico – this time with Diva and Dweezil - Massimo tells stories and anecdotes about his trip with Frank on the same roads they are going along now: the plazas, the cafe, and the people they met. Dweezil and Diva are astonished. They knew very little about that trip of their father to Partinico in 1982. A trip to see the homeland, his own roots.
      When they arrive in Partinico they do not expect the warm welcome the whole town gives them. The feel moved, especially when they receive the honorary citizenship of the town. They visit their great-grandfather’s humble home, the place their grandfather and his grand grandfather left, without any money, towards the unknown, towards the American dream. And they are overwhelmed with emotion on seeing it. Dweezil thinks this trip back to his roots is very important and he makes profound considerations about the difficulty of the trip towards the US that time: immigrants leaving their own town and their loved ones to reach America, the poverty, the unjust living conditions, those poor houses of their recent ancestors are unimaginable for people of his own generation.
      Diva’s feelings exceed expectations too. She has no doubts: she wants to come back to Partinico very soon.
      (CLIMAX) The strong feelings that moved them during this unusual experience explode with emotion and tears.
      *****
      Dweezil has left his father when he was very young, almost the same age of the young Frank Zappa fan we spoke about at the start of the movie.
      Dweezil tells us about his relationship with his father, his unfulfilled desire to really know and understand him. He was still young the moment he lost him, but he can tell the relationship he has with Frank Zappa’s music.
      -He will never say to me: Son, I am proud of you.
      This part concerns parallel fates:
      Salvo Cuccia, the Zappa fan, and Dweezil Zappa, the son of the international rock star. Today they are a film director and a musician.
      Salvo puts in all of the fragments of their stories: he is from another Sicilian town, his relationship with his father, his father’s premature death, and his relationship with Zappa’s music and genius.
      Dweezil gets into his relationship with his father, and he gets in touch with his family genealogy, his ancestors, the reflections on people who immigrate form their homelands and their destiny.
      Massimo makes a reflection and runs through an important 20 year friendship. Something that normally does not happen between a normal fan and his idol.
      In the very near future the Mayor of Partinico will name a street and a school class in honor of Frank Zappa. On this occasion Dweezil will be back to Partinico with his family, and he will play a concert in there.
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