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Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Releasing exclusively at Cinema Nouveau Theatres nationally on December 30 2011, The Music Never Stopped is based on the case study The Last Hippie by Dr. Oliver Sacks MD, and chronicles the journey of a father (Henry) and son (Gabriel) adjusting to cerebral trauma and a lifetime of missed opportunities. Through the music that embodied the generation gap of the 1960s, the film weaves the heart-warming progress of Henry (J.K. Simmons) and Gabriel (Lou Taylor Pucci).

Director Jim Kohlberg is a veteran film producer, but he had never before directed for the screen. “I’d directed theatre before, so both my producing experience and working theatre really informed the way I work with actors,” he recalls from the set. “This script was a great first project because it is a small, intimate film - except for the Grateful Dead concert! Most of all, it was about the material. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. The reason I direct is to bring stories to life, and this was a story that needed to be brought to life.” Producer Peter Newman agrees: “This is one of those films where people will say, ‘They don’t make films like that anymore. I think we’ve made one.’”

With father and son on the opposite side of musical tastes as well as politics and the war in Vietnam, Gabriel disappears into the counterculture following a devastating confrontation with his father. The film opens nearly two decades later, when Henry and wife Helen (Cara Seymour) are told their son has been found wandering the streets of New York City.

Gabriel has a brain tumour that has caused extensive brain damage, and needs immediate surgery. When he recovers, he is in a near-catatonic state, his brain damaged to the point that it cannot recall or create any long-term memories. Effectively, Gabriel still thinks he is in 1968. Unhappy with Gabriel’s progress, Henry researches brain injuries, which leads him to Dr. Dianne Daly (Julia Ormond). She is a music therapist who has made progress with victims of brain tumours using music.

As Diane works more with Gabriel, she realizes that he seems to respond actively to the music of the psychedelic era – the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and particularly the Grateful Dead – which has a remarkable effect on Gabriel.

While his own health fails, Henry begins his own pilgrimage through the bands of the sixties. As he learns the songs that animate his son’s soul, he indeed begins to form a most unusual but emotionally vibrant bond with the child he thought he had lost.

In The Music Never Stopped, the music not only defines the characters, it defines their relationships. The music literally moves the characters through their lives, signifying layers of loss, tragedy, recovery, and hope.

The Music Never Stopped will be released in KZN on December 30 at Cinema Nouveau Gateway. Running time is 105 minutes.