Alive Inside


While volunteering at a nursing home, social worker Dan Cohen makes an amazing discovery: Playing music for elderly people with dementia brings about powerful transformations. Just a few minutes of listening to the music they love “wakes up” Alzheimer’s patients, reconnecting them with their identities, emotions, and past lives. In Michael Rossato-Bennett’s remarkable documentary, we see the results of Cohen’s experiments firsthand, learning how a pair of headphones and an iPod can conjure up feelings of joy and memories that have been dormant for years. Interviews with neurologist Oliver Sacks, musician Bobby McFerrin, and experts on elderly care confirm this revelatory power in music, as well as the necessity of interpersonal connections. This film is a moving piece of advocacy, shedding light on how our brains function as it exposes flaws in our national health system.  EM


Michael Rossato-Bennett


Alex McDougald, Michael Rossato-Bennett


Mark Demolar, Michael Rossato-Bennett, Manuel Tsingaris


Shachar Langlev

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

73 minutes