200 Motels is a 1971 surreal musical film written and directed by Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer, and featuring music by Zappa. An international co-production of United States and the United Kingdom, the film stars the Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel and Ringo Starr.
The film attempts to portray the craziness of life on the road as a rock musician, and as such consists of a series of unconnected nonsense vignettes interspersed with concert footage of the Mothers of Invention. Ostensibly, while on tour The Mothers of Invention go crazy in the small fictional town of Centerville ("a real nice place to raise your kids up"), wander around, and get beaten up in "Redneck Eats", a cowboy bar. In an animated interlude passed off as a "dental hygiene movie", bassist "Jeff", tired of playing what he refers to as "Zappa's comedy music", is persuaded by his bad conscience to quit the group, as did his real-life counterpart Jeff Simmons. Simmons was replaced by Martin Lickert (who was Starr's chauffeur) for the film. Almost every scene is drenched with video special effects (double and triple exposures, solarisation, false color, speed changes, etc.) which were innovative in 1971. The film has been dubbed a "surrealistic documentary".
|director||Frank Zappa Tony Palmer|
|keywords||animate concert footage double and triple exposures false color jeff simmons multiple exposure on the road on tour rock music solarisation special effects the mothers of invention|
|theme||avant-garde and experimental musical satirical surreal|