A soulful assemblage: A review of Come Worry with Us!

0 Posted by - May 2, 2014 - Features, Reviews, Sound

Come Worry With Us! is a film by Helene Klodawsky that follows Montreal-based band, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra on a North American tour.  A collage-like documentary, the film highlights Jessica Moss and Efrim Menuck, bandmates, partners and parents to toddler-aged Ezra, who is traveling with the musicians.

An assemblage of visual stylings (hand-held low-fi camera techniques, artistic cinematography, painterly colour schemes) combined with the original artwork of Jessica Moss and the soulful rock music of Silver Mt. Zion, the film offers a visceral experience.

Touching on that core feeling that some can’t get away from [insert whatever it is that makes you feel passionate…], the film left me inspired in my own pursuits, as well as socially engaged in issues concerning gender roles in parenthood and the struggles that artists who raise children face.

come-worry-with-us-4“Is it selfish or is it the best thing to do for your kid – showing them that you’re doing what you love,” says mother and musician, Jessica.  “Growing up it feels like anything is possible, and the moment that you become a mother, it stops feeling that way.  All of the sudden we become less, even though in our own tiny little world, we become huge because we become somebody’s mother… I want so much to go back to what I was doing.”  Jessica’s honesty is striking.  Her desire to activate her creative self is challenged by the presence of her [unreasonably adorable] son, Ezra.  Scenes of frustration on both parts of child and parent are contrasted by images of the most pure and endearing affection that is expressed not only by Jessica, Efrim and Ezra, but also by the band as a whole.

This is one of those situations where you think, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  There is truth in that statement, and it is evident in the roles that the band members play.   Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra seems to function like an organism.  Every part is equally important, including that of Ezra’s.

While father, Efrim, struggles with the duty to provide for his family, Jessica confronts the loss of her full-time creative endeavours and plays with the possibility of finding more reliable work.  The gender divide becomes front and center when both parents feel pressured by roles defined by stereotypes:  the mother stays with the children and the father is the breadwinner.  Although both Efrim and Jessica don’t intentionally subscribe to these roles, they can’t deny the inevitable divide:  Jessica will stay home with Ezra while Efrim continues to tour and provide financial stability for his family.

My admiration for the subjects’ undying passion for art, love and family connected me as a viewer, leaving me curious as to how the family will cope as touring musicians in the coming years, and whether or not both parents will find creative fulfillment with the pressures of parenthood upon them.

Come Worry With Us! is soulful, punk rock and folky all at the same time;  a rhythmic compliment to the band itself.  It left me with the reminder of how important it is to support artists so that we as viewers can continue to rock out at shows, fall in love with lyrics and beats and all that sweaty goodness, while taking into consideration that these makers have families and pursuits that are worth our investments, whether it be a $20 concert t-shirt or a ticket to see a film.

Come Worry With Us! had its premiere at Hot Docs 2014.

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