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Note: This post may contain spoilers.
Come Worry with Us! is Helene Klodawsky’s 2013 portrait of the Montreal-based group Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.
This beautifully shot documentary reveals a band in transition. It focuses mostly on Jessica Moss and Efrim Menuck, whose new son Ezra has forced them to re-examine their careers, their gender roles, and their lives. As a group working outside mainstream supports and constraints, the group struggles but persists. Costs keep rising, and the decision to bring Ezra on tour with them pushes costs up even more. Yet the band members remain determined to share the income equally.
Klodawsky’s documentary follows the band on its tour and in performances. Moss and Menuck bring Ezra on one, six-week tour, but for a shorter, eight-day trip Ezra remains with his grandmother. Ezra’s presence affects everyone on the bus, but the other band members seem to enjoy having him around.
More so, though, this documentary offers the bandmates’ meditations on deep issues, and Klodawsky employs an interesting take on the interview to explore them. Instead of the lone talking head, two people engage in conversations. The pairings include different combinations of band members, but many interviews pair Moss with her best friend, her sister, and others close to her. These women often talk about the balances of being parents and having careers.
Along with the interview approach, I appreciated the visual style of this documentary. Titles introduce key pieces of the band’s history and philosophies, and the cinematography’s combination of blurs, zooms, and varying shot frames add visual interest.
While Come Worry with Us! does feature some music from the group, this documentary is more about the group’s changing life roles and the changing music industry, particularly in terms of the relationship between independent musicians and the increasing dominance of the global music industry.