The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

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Michael Nyman's 'chamber opera' is based on neurologist Oliver Sacks' case history of a man suffering from agnosia: the inability to recognise everyday objects. As the Neurologist (Belcourt) questions and conducts tests upon music lecturer Dr P (Westcott), the story proper takes time out for interviews with both Sacks himself and a neurological surgeon, allowing librettist and director Rawlence to transform an individual case study into an investigation of problems of perception. Thanks to sensitivity and wit and to a subtle, sympathetic use of close-ups, the film finally becomes very moving. And Nyman's shimmering music, crisply sung by the three leads, is not only entirely appropriate to mood and meaning, but also memorable in its own right.

By: GA

Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Christopher Rawlence
Screenwriter: Michael Nyman, Christopher Rawlence, Michael Morris
Cast: Emile Belcourt
Frederick Westcott
Patricia Hooper
John Tighe
Oliver Sacks