Widely recognized as a master songwriter, Townes Van Zandt’s work is defined as much by gaps and absences as it is by melodies and rhymes. In her quietly moving study of the country/folk icon, director Margaret Brown adopts her subject’s philosophy in an attempt to better capture his spirit. Without voiceovers, expert testimony or historical interludes to guide it, Be Here to Love Me unfolds as casually as a stoned conversation.
Amorphous interviews, beautifully shot rainy day drives, unforgettable home movies and slow, dusty songs set the pace and complement the story, but they don’t tell it. Nobody really does. The real Van Zandt, the emptiness that was his salvation and his downfall, emerges only as an implication. And instead of morbidly glorifying his undoing, Brown lends Van Zandt to her goosebumped audience as a tool for better understanding themselves. A must-see for Van Zandt fans, music-lovers, truth-seekers and depressives alike.
Opens December 2 at Angelika Film Center