This year’s Sundance Audience Award winner explores the power of music to reconnect Alzheimers’ patients with their forgotten selves. Oliver Sacks and other neurology experts contribute their expertise, but it’s the case studies that carry the message home. Social worker Dan Cohen’s campaign to furnish dementia patients worldwide with custom-loaded iPods seems certain to gain traction wherever this film is shown.
“A packed audience at Sundance was invigorated by witnessing this magical, non-medical story of healing. Alive Inside was brought to full dimension by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett’s vigorous filmic hand, blending a bedside manner with a rousing aesthetic. In this stirring documentary, Rossato-Bennett unveils the healing power of music to reinvigorate memory in nursing-home patients suffering from dementia. Rossato-Bennett follows social worker Dan Cohen, who discovered that a patient’s favorite songs are intact in a part of the brain that is still alive when all other communication and awareness seem irretrievably lost.” — Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter