Catatonic patients respond incredibly to their fave music.
ALIVE INSIDE (Michael Rossato-Bennett). 73 minutes. Opens Friday (July 25). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
After winning the Audience Award at Sundance and closing Doc Soup earlier this spring, Michael Rossato-Bennett's Alive Inside gets a proper theatrical release this week.
It's more of an infomercial than a movie, having been produced for virtually no money and without much in the way of skill. That doesn't matter, because Rossato-Bennett has found a subject that requires nothing more than pointing and shooting.
Social worker Dan Cohen gives elderly sufferers of dementia some comfort by playing their favourite songs. His Music And Memory project provides iPods loaded with a patient's best-loved tunes, and Rossato-Bennett simply recorded the results.
Catatonic men and women come back to life, connecting with the music (though still, tragically, disconnected from the world around them). Oliver Sacks appears to talk about the theory behind the treatment, but this footage is almost irrelevant; the sight of these people reviving says everything much more simply.
Alive Inside isn't a sophisticated film, and Rossato-Bennett leans a little heavily on the feel-good button. But in fairness, there aren't many other ways to convey the wonder he's captured. Bring a pack of tissues.