Townes van Zandt (Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt)
U.S.A. 2004

Opening 22 Dec 2005

Directed by: Margaret Brown
Writing credits:
Principal actors: Townes van Zandt, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson

Part documentary, part music video, part tribute: Be Here to Love Me tells the life story of songwriting legend Townes Van Zandt. Director Margaret Brown has pieced together interviews with family members and friends, famous singers including Willie Nelson, Steve Shelley (from Sonic Youth), Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark and Kris Kristofferson, and plenty of footage of Townes himself to create this touching biography.

Stories of his manic depression, alcoholism and drug addictions could have provided Brown with plenty of material for a scandalous memoir. Alternatively, she could have found hundreds of people to tout his talent, like Steve Earle, who famously said, “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world. And I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” Instead, however, this film is much more subtle. The director treats both his tragedy and his genius in a very matter-of-fact fashion with neither justification nor glorification. Still, the end result is a portrait of a man’s life, and therefore in no way void of sentiment. The use of Van Zandt’s own music as a soundtrack throughout the film packed an extra emotional punch. Even for those who are not folk/country music fans, Van Zandt’s story is an interesting one, and it is artfully told by Brown. (Alyssa Cirelli)

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