Zeus formed in Havana during the Eighties, when rock music was considered a capitalist threat and was effectively illegal inside Cuba. It was common for “frikis” — or, “freaks” — to be thrown in jail, and Zeus frontman Diony Arce even spent six years in prison during the height of the band’s career. In recent years, however, Cuba’s communist government has embraced Zeus; The Ministry of Culture’s Agency of Rock pays the band’s salaries and recently granted them permission to tour Cuba for the first time in their career.
Directed by Nicholas Brennan, who spent 10 years with the band, Los Ultimos Frikis is centered around that trek. But what should have been a triumphant run for the long-ignored outfit instead forced them to confront their place in contemporary Cuban culture — as the outside world begins to filter in and a younger generation embraces different styles of music. “They hated us because we were something different,” one of the band members says in the clip. “But here we are. We are the last freaks in Havana.”
Los Ultimos Frikis will premiere November 10th at the SVA Theater in New York City. The film notably features a score from Cuban-American drummer and Slayer co-founder, Dave Lombardo.
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“I have always wanted to score a film,” Lombardo said in a statement. “It’s been a goal of mine for many years now. When Nick told me his vision for this documentary, I was immediately intrigued by the story because it could have been mine. When he asked me to score the film, I didn’t hesitate to accept. It couldn’t have been a more perfect match for my debut at a new form of musical expression. I have been on a path of making music solely for myself and various bands for 37 years. This is for the people of my birthplace. This is for my blood and for healing.”
“This film is the culmination of a cross-border collaboration between Cuban and American filmmakers, musicians and artists who have worked together over the past decade to share this unheard story from Cuba with the world,” Brennan added. “It’s an important example for our current times of how collaboration and friendship can overcome our political differences.”