Documentary Site started as an outlet for my interests in documentary 15 years ago. Since then, my presence has expanded to writing, managing Twitter fans, and connecting with makers, promoters, and fans of documentary. Probably three of the coolest things to come from this endeavor are being invited to write for POV, visiting Kartemquin studios, and leading a discussion after a screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali. My current project involves watching and writing about 365 documentaries in 2014. Feel free to send along your suggestions via Twitter @documentarysite!

#365Docs: Come Worry with Us! (36/365)

by |

I’m watching 365 documentaries and writing about each one in 2014. Tweet your suggestions to @documentarysite, or send an e-mail to hmcintosh@documentarysite.com. Read more.

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.

Get more documentary film news and features: Subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs!

Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh started Documentary Site as a resource for documentary media and has greatly enjoyed the connections it has fostered over the years.