LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael
Rossato-Bennett initially thought it was the worst job he had ever
The filmmaker was flabbergasted when he entered a nursing
home on a commission to film a few clips for a website.
"I walked into these hallways with hundreds of residents in
wheelchairs just sitting on the side of the hallway, and I had
felt like I'd entered into Dante's 'Inferno,'" he said.
That visit, though, eventually sparked "Alive Inside," an
award-winning independent documentary on musical therapy for
those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other neurological
When Rossato-Bennett started filming three years ago he met
Henry. The 94-year-old man was crumpled in his wheelchair with
his head down, eyes closed and hands clasped. He had been in a
nursing home for a decade and couldn't recognize his daughter.
But when a nurse put headphones over Henry's ears and played his
favorite music, he began to shuffle his feet, move his arms and
"It was like a resurrection of life in a person," Rossato-Bennett,
53, said. "Then when we took the headphones off the guy, and we
started talking to him, the being revealed itself. He had this
incredible voice and he spoke poetry, like greater poetry than
I'm capable of."
Henry's story, which went viral a few years ago when the video
clip was released online, is a common occurrence in the film
that has begun its rollout into U.S. theaters this month after
winning the audience award for top U.S. documentary at the
Sundance Film Festival in January.
The documentary chronicles New York social worker Dan Cohen's
effort to bring such therapy to dementia patients as a way to
lessen the use of medication and combat its cost on a strained
healthcare system about to absorb aging Baby Boomers.