Published Aug 25, 2008Even as the subject of the new film Silver Jew, David Berman has no intention of watching it. Celebrated for the charm of his dark-tinted, associative lyrics on life and love, when Berman agreed to leave Nashville and take his Silver Jews on tour in 2006, it was the first trek in the bands15-year history.
After a dark period abusing drugs and attempting suicide, Berman so embraced his Judaism that a primary objective in hitting the road was touring Israel. The Silver Jews played two shows in Tel Aviv, visited Jerusalem, and hometown associate Michael Tully captured it all. "He decided it was something he wanted to document, so he came over with a camera and followed us around, Berman explains. "When we got back and he told me he wanted to make something of it, I was really sceptical, to the point where I still have never seen it.
By his own admission, Bermans reluctance stems from his controlling nature over all Silver Jews releases. Choosing not to participate in the films composition ("I couldnt edit it because I wouldnt find anything I liked; I would want to take everything out.), Berman still has an inkling of the beautiful nature of Silver Jew. Beyond rich landscapes and probing intimacy, the documentary weaves a poetic pattern of spiritual and musical joy, culminating in a scene where Berman weeps through a prayer recitation at the Western Wall.
"I think thats why I let it go, Berman says. "People dont see examples of intelligent people, critical minds dealing with spiritual things. You dont ever see people who, from a fans point of view, cry. So I felt, if that was part of it, it wasnt my right to pull that away because its a rare thing.