Zappa


1h 40m 1983

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Romance
Release Date
1983

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m

Synopsis

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Romance
Release Date
1983

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m

Articles

Twist and Shout/Zappa


Despite an uneven Hollywood career consisting of poorly received book adaptations like Smilla's Sense of Snow and House of the Spirits, Danish director Bille August will likely enjoy an endless amount of goodwill within the critical community on the basis of his art house classics like Pelle the Conqueror and Best Intentions. However, Home Vision's double-disc tribute to August highlights an earlier, surprising aspect of the director's career, offering finely etched studies of `60s adolescence in turmoil.

Rarely seen outside its native country, 1983's Zappa presents a surprisingly dark study of three teenagers coming to grips with social obstacles: suburban good kid Bjørn (Adam Tønsberg), poor class clown Mulle (Morten Hoff), and wealthy Steen (Peter Reichhardt), whose pet provides the symbolic title of the film. Tension erupts when Bjørn begins to question Steen's presumptuous, authoritative stance on the boys' activities, and soon our hero is conspiring to disrupt this artificial caste system that keeps the friends from ever getting to really know each other. Eventually it all comes to a head in a dramatic climax that mixes My Bodyguard and Spetters, if such a thing were possible.

Filmed directly after the completion of Zappa, August's Twist and Shout enjoyed a more widespread release (albeit over a period of years) most likely due to its warmer, more nostalgic tone. Set five years later, the 17-year-old Bjørn (Tønsberg again) is living during the height of 1963 Beatlemania. Now in thrall to his hormones, our pubescent hero lusts after curly-haired Anna (Camilla Søeberg) while the shallower Kirsten (Ulrikke Bondo) pines for him -- despite the fact that Bjørn's best friend, Erik (Lars Simonsen), is infatuated with her. Bjørn now longs to be a rock and roll musician, inspired in no small part by the kitschy Beatles imitators performing at the town hall; however, Erik has more mundane concerns involving his dysfunctional family, what with a domineering father who keeps his insane wife locked away from public view. When Anna winds up pregnant, the story takes a sharp turn that leaves everyone more than a little bit sadder and wiser.

The most commercially successful film in Danish history at the time, Twist and Shout walks the tightrope between kitchen sink realism and teen comedy with admirable precision; however, anyone expecting a weighty foreign language classic may find the result lightweight. Thanks to the pervasive strain of Beatles pop culture running through every other scene, it's hard to watch the film without comparing it to Robert Zemeckis' underrated I Wanna Hold Your Hand (which is better), 1978's Lemon Popsicle (with which it shares a number of surprising plot points) and its remake, The Last American Virgin (both worse but not worthless), and most obviously, John Duigan's masterful teen nostalgia duo, The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting, which lifted August's concept to astonishing heights. As with most films of this kind, much of the weight rests on the audience identification figure; luckily puppy-eyed Tønsberg is more than up to the task and flits between giddy comedy and sullen drama without missing a beat. August's directorial style is spare and unobtrusive, usually framing the characters simply and getting the dramatic points across without smacking the viewer over the head. Too bad more directors haven't followed suit.

Home Vision's double-disc set contains both features in immaculate widescreen transfers. The murkier Zappa won't push the limits of anyone's home theater system, but it's a solid transfer and probably couldn't be much better. Twist and Shout features warmer hues, all burnished mahoganies and golds; despite the darker scenes in Erik's house, it never becomes muddy or plagued by compression defects. Significantly, this is the first time most viewers will be able to watch Zappa with English subtitles since a Japanese-language tape provided the only common, commercially available option. Audio sounds fine on both, with the Beatles songs on the latter (which must have been a nightmare to legally clear for home video) coming through loud and clear.

Extras are fairly slim, though given the presence of both films one would be hard-pressed to quibble too much. Trailers for both films are included, along with a director filmography and typically informative, opinionated liner notes by The New Biographical Dictionary of Film's David Thomson.

For more information about Twist and Shout/Zappa, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Twist and Shout/Zappa, go to TCM Shopping.

by Nathaniel Thompson
Twist And Shout/zappa

Twist and Shout/Zappa

Despite an uneven Hollywood career consisting of poorly received book adaptations like Smilla's Sense of Snow and House of the Spirits, Danish director Bille August will likely enjoy an endless amount of goodwill within the critical community on the basis of his art house classics like Pelle the Conqueror and Best Intentions. However, Home Vision's double-disc tribute to August highlights an earlier, surprising aspect of the director's career, offering finely etched studies of `60s adolescence in turmoil. Rarely seen outside its native country, 1983's Zappa presents a surprisingly dark study of three teenagers coming to grips with social obstacles: suburban good kid Bjørn (Adam Tønsberg), poor class clown Mulle (Morten Hoff), and wealthy Steen (Peter Reichhardt), whose pet provides the symbolic title of the film. Tension erupts when Bjørn begins to question Steen's presumptuous, authoritative stance on the boys' activities, and soon our hero is conspiring to disrupt this artificial caste system that keeps the friends from ever getting to really know each other. Eventually it all comes to a head in a dramatic climax that mixes My Bodyguard and Spetters, if such a thing were possible. Filmed directly after the completion of Zappa, August's Twist and Shout enjoyed a more widespread release (albeit over a period of years) most likely due to its warmer, more nostalgic tone. Set five years later, the 17-year-old Bjørn (Tønsberg again) is living during the height of 1963 Beatlemania. Now in thrall to his hormones, our pubescent hero lusts after curly-haired Anna (Camilla Søeberg) while the shallower Kirsten (Ulrikke Bondo) pines for him -- despite the fact that Bjørn's best friend, Erik (Lars Simonsen), is infatuated with her. Bjørn now longs to be a rock and roll musician, inspired in no small part by the kitschy Beatles imitators performing at the town hall; however, Erik has more mundane concerns involving his dysfunctional family, what with a domineering father who keeps his insane wife locked away from public view. When Anna winds up pregnant, the story takes a sharp turn that leaves everyone more than a little bit sadder and wiser. The most commercially successful film in Danish history at the time, Twist and Shout walks the tightrope between kitchen sink realism and teen comedy with admirable precision; however, anyone expecting a weighty foreign language classic may find the result lightweight. Thanks to the pervasive strain of Beatles pop culture running through every other scene, it's hard to watch the film without comparing it to Robert Zemeckis' underrated I Wanna Hold Your Hand (which is better), 1978's Lemon Popsicle (with which it shares a number of surprising plot points) and its remake, The Last American Virgin (both worse but not worthless), and most obviously, John Duigan's masterful teen nostalgia duo, The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting, which lifted August's concept to astonishing heights. As with most films of this kind, much of the weight rests on the audience identification figure; luckily puppy-eyed Tønsberg is more than up to the task and flits between giddy comedy and sullen drama without missing a beat. August's directorial style is spare and unobtrusive, usually framing the characters simply and getting the dramatic points across without smacking the viewer over the head. Too bad more directors haven't followed suit. Home Vision's double-disc set contains both features in immaculate widescreen transfers. The murkier Zappa won't push the limits of anyone's home theater system, but it's a solid transfer and probably couldn't be much better. Twist and Shout features warmer hues, all burnished mahoganies and golds; despite the darker scenes in Erik's house, it never becomes muddy or plagued by compression defects. Significantly, this is the first time most viewers will be able to watch Zappa with English subtitles since a Japanese-language tape provided the only common, commercially available option. Audio sounds fine on both, with the Beatles songs on the latter (which must have been a nightmare to legally clear for home video) coming through loud and clear. Extras are fairly slim, though given the presence of both films one would be hard-pressed to quibble too much. Trailers for both films are included, along with a director filmography and typically informative, opinionated liner notes by The New Biographical Dictionary of Film's David Thomson. For more information about Twist and Shout/Zappa, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Twist and Shout/Zappa, go to TCM Shopping. by Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1983

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1983