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'Alive Inside' shows the healing power of music
The documentary "Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory" attests to the fact that music really is medicine for the soul.
It's about social worker Dan Cohen and his Music & Memory nonprofit program, which brings personalized music to elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer's and other ailments. The film, opening at the Sunshine Cinema Friday, demonstrates the benefit of music therapy and argues that it should be prioritized by the health care system.
Documentarian Michael Rossato-Bennett says the first time he witnessed the effect of Cohen's program, which began with a single Cobble Hill nursing home in 2008 and has since expanded to more than 650 locations, he was left fundamentally transformed.
"Dan brought this man Henry, a guy who had his head pressed down against his chest and looked like he wasn't there," Rossato-Bennett says. "He had loaded Henry's music on this iPod, Henry was given this music, and I was floored because I watched a 'dead' human being come back to life.
"And beyond that, it wasn't just that he was human being, it was that he was a profound human being. I'm an artist and this is a man who's a singer and a poet, almost a prophet of life. This person had been dead, gone to the world, and I had completely discounted him. When you experience another human being come to life, it is inescapable."