Michael Rossato –Bennett’s look at the effects of music therapy on the minds of patients with Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible made and constructed film, but it makes up for its lack of subtlety and tact (and the fact that it’s essentially product placement for the core organization involved) with a great amount of heart and warmth.
The filmmaker follows the work of Dan Cohen, founder of not-for-profit organization Music & Memory, a former social worker who helped to invent musical therapy for people with deteriorating diseases. Cohen’s work is notably effective and he infuses his interactions with love, but the film wants to make it look like he’s the only person doing such therapy. It’s not hard science, and at only just over 70 minutes, it’s very narrow-minded. Rossato-Bennett’s sometimes didactic, heavy handed, and unnecessary narration and cutsey editing designed to make it all look flashier almost derail everything.
Yet, there’s something undeniably stirring about watching someone who has been losing their memories have their eyes light up at the sounds of their youth or their favourite musical pieces. The power of these moments is undeniable and Cohen, the stories of the individuals he’s helping, and asides that include Bobby McFerrin and Oliver Sacks make this one worth a watch. It probably would have worked a lot better as a short, but it also picked up an award at Sundance, so maybe it works just fine if you can put out of mind that it’s made by someone who doesn’t really know how to make a movie outside of creating bulletpoints and obvious shorthand.
Director Michael Rossato-Bennett and Dan Cohen, film subject and founder of the nonprofit organization Music and Memory, will participate in a Skype Q&A on Friday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m.
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto will participate in Q&As on Tuesday, July 29, at 4:15 p.m., and Wednesday, July 30, at 4:00 p.m.
This look inside the politics at the heart of the American electoral system and the Republican Party might not appeal to anyone who doesn’t already see the right wing as inherently greedy and evil, but at least it’s not painful to sit through. Thanks to the involvement of Carl Deal and Tina Lessin (producers of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11) there’s a decent watchability factor here, even if it isn’t particularly bringing up any new points.
Using the controversial and heavily protest election of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker as a focal point, Deal and Lessin go after the Koch Brothers (Charles and David) and other billionaires who are so rich they can essentially place anyone they want into power provided that they agree with the bent of the politician involved.
It’s a very basic outlining of “rich get richer, poor get poorer” economics and politics, but it shockingly isn’t dire or a constant rallying of the wagons. It will only appeal to like minded viewers, but for what it is, it’s a pretty decent if somewhat unexceptional look at the continued US march to the right.
Also at The Bloor this week:
The monthly Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast experience goes down on Friday night at 11:30pm.
The musically minded This Film Should Be Played Loud! series continues on Saturday night at 9:30pm with the delightful Michel Gondry and Dave Chapelle street festival concert film Dave Chapelle’s Block Party. Doors open at 8pm, with $5 tall boys of Steamwhistle and a DJ set.
Finally, local boy success story and bread enthusiast Bryan Lee O’Malley (author of the Scott Pilgrim series) returns to town to celebrate the release of his latest work, Seconds (which is really good and his best work to date) on Wednesday at 9:15pm. The event is sponsored by The Beguiling. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.