Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Broken adults

Music mines memory

Alive Inside: The lights just came on.
Alive Inside: The lights just came on.

“I’ve forgotten so much,” says the 90-year-old woman who opens the documentary Alive Inside. “I’m very sorry. I’ve forgotten what I did after I became a young lady. If I could tell you, I would.” Then a man gives her a tiny iPod and a pair of headphones and starts playing Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In.” “Let the music take you back,” he suggests. And suddenly, precise details from her life come pouring out, starting with the fact that the woman’s mother told her not to go see Louis Armstrong. After a bit, the woman stops, amazed. “I didn’t know I could talk so much,” she marvels.

In 2006, tech-friendly social worker Dan Cohen got the bright idea to bring iPods loaded with personalized playlists to elderly nursing-home patients suffering from disconnection. Whether because of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or schizophrenia, these people had lost touch with the world, and with themselves. In at least a few instances, the results were dramatic — astonishing, thrilling, wonderful, you name it. The music would hit the patient’s ears, and you could see the lights go on behind their eyes. Cohen became a man on a mission, and Alive Inside is Michael Rossato-Bennett’s filmed account of that mission. There’s some science, some sociology, some criticism of Big Pharma, and some iffy cinematic representations of times gone by. But the main attractions here are the people: the ancient, marvelous, memorable human characters that Cohen wants to reach.

The film makes the case that societal changes brought on by the industrial revolution have served to shunt the elderly to the margins of society. Old folks, one doctor claims, are seen as broken adults: they’re poor consumers and unproductive in the labor department, so get ’em off the stage. It’s hard not to remember that notion when Cohen, after talking about his need for thousands of iPods, puts in a call to a certain company about a donation and finds they have “no corporate philanthropy policy.” Who is “they”? The film is careful not to say. But we do learn that Sandra Day O’Connor requested support for Alzheimer’s research from “The Man Himself,” and was rebuffed. Still, it’s worth remembering that iPods enable Cohen to do his very good work in the first place. Technology is a complicated business.

Movie

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory **

thumbnail

In 2006, tech-friendly social worker Dan Cohen got the bright idea to bring iPods loaded with personalized playlists to elderly nursing home patients suffering from disconnection. Whether because of Alzheimer's, dementia, or schizophrenia, these people had lost touch with the world, and with themselves. In at least a few instances, the results were dramatic. The music would hit the patient's ears, and you could see the lights go on behind their eyes. Cohen became a man on a mission. There's some science, some sociology, some criticism Big Pharma, and some iffy cinematic representations of times gone by. But the main attractions here are the people: the ancient, marvelous, memorable human characters that Cohen wants to reach. It's more advocacy than exploration or investigation, and it could have stood to spend some more time in the trenches of geriatric care and institutional policy. But it does make the case for the worthiness of the cause.

Find showtimes

Ultimately, the film is more interested in advocacy than exploration or even investigation. It touches on the ways that music gets at memory, and it touches on the stated hesitancies of nursing homes to adopt Cohen’s method as a standard of care. But it’s not like we’re presented with findings from peer-reviewed studies, or specific accounts of brain activity, or detailed rebuttals from the naysayers. The film closes with a suggestion to visit musicandmemory.org, Cohen’s nonprofit, and it’s a suggestion you can see coming from early in the proceedings. I would have preferred a documentary that did more presenting and a little less pushing. But it’s an unquestionably worthy cause, and again, the scenes of music’s vivifying effect on old souls made for some of the most moving scenes I’ve seen all year.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

What Beethoven's Fifth is not

An answer to vox.com
Alive Inside: The lights just came on.
Alive Inside: The lights just came on.

“I’ve forgotten so much,” says the 90-year-old woman who opens the documentary Alive Inside. “I’m very sorry. I’ve forgotten what I did after I became a young lady. If I could tell you, I would.” Then a man gives her a tiny iPod and a pair of headphones and starts playing Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In.” “Let the music take you back,” he suggests. And suddenly, precise details from her life come pouring out, starting with the fact that the woman’s mother told her not to go see Louis Armstrong. After a bit, the woman stops, amazed. “I didn’t know I could talk so much,” she marvels.

In 2006, tech-friendly social worker Dan Cohen got the bright idea to bring iPods loaded with personalized playlists to elderly nursing-home patients suffering from disconnection. Whether because of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or schizophrenia, these people had lost touch with the world, and with themselves. In at least a few instances, the results were dramatic — astonishing, thrilling, wonderful, you name it. The music would hit the patient’s ears, and you could see the lights go on behind their eyes. Cohen became a man on a mission, and Alive Inside is Michael Rossato-Bennett’s filmed account of that mission. There’s some science, some sociology, some criticism of Big Pharma, and some iffy cinematic representations of times gone by. But the main attractions here are the people: the ancient, marvelous, memorable human characters that Cohen wants to reach.

The film makes the case that societal changes brought on by the industrial revolution have served to shunt the elderly to the margins of society. Old folks, one doctor claims, are seen as broken adults: they’re poor consumers and unproductive in the labor department, so get ’em off the stage. It’s hard not to remember that notion when Cohen, after talking about his need for thousands of iPods, puts in a call to a certain company about a donation and finds they have “no corporate philanthropy policy.” Who is “they”? The film is careful not to say. But we do learn that Sandra Day O’Connor requested support for Alzheimer’s research from “The Man Himself,” and was rebuffed. Still, it’s worth remembering that iPods enable Cohen to do his very good work in the first place. Technology is a complicated business.

Movie

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory **

thumbnail

In 2006, tech-friendly social worker Dan Cohen got the bright idea to bring iPods loaded with personalized playlists to elderly nursing home patients suffering from disconnection. Whether because of Alzheimer's, dementia, or schizophrenia, these people had lost touch with the world, and with themselves. In at least a few instances, the results were dramatic. The music would hit the patient's ears, and you could see the lights go on behind their eyes. Cohen became a man on a mission. There's some science, some sociology, some criticism Big Pharma, and some iffy cinematic representations of times gone by. But the main attractions here are the people: the ancient, marvelous, memorable human characters that Cohen wants to reach. It's more advocacy than exploration or investigation, and it could have stood to spend some more time in the trenches of geriatric care and institutional policy. But it does make the case for the worthiness of the cause.

Find showtimes

Ultimately, the film is more interested in advocacy than exploration or even investigation. It touches on the ways that music gets at memory, and it touches on the stated hesitancies of nursing homes to adopt Cohen’s method as a standard of care. But it’s not like we’re presented with findings from peer-reviewed studies, or specific accounts of brain activity, or detailed rebuttals from the naysayers. The film closes with a suggestion to visit musicandmemory.org, Cohen’s nonprofit, and it’s a suggestion you can see coming from early in the proceedings. I would have preferred a documentary that did more presenting and a little less pushing. But it’s an unquestionably worthy cause, and again, the scenes of music’s vivifying effect on old souls made for some of the most moving scenes I’ve seen all year.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jackslacks releases Billy Bacon tribute EP When Pigs Fly

Bacon passed away in August 2019
Next Article

La Jolla Elementary alumni

Bruce Robinson, Fred Benedetti, Nickel Creek, Black Licorice, Rob Halford
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close