Martino Unstrung (2008)

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Instrumental Music  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jason Buchanan

Director Ian Knox and neuropsychologist Paul Broks travel from coast to coast to search for the soul of legendary jazz guitarist Pat Martino, whose memories and personal artistic achievements were literally wiped clean from his mind following a life-saving surgery. What is the self, and how much change can it endure? This is the question posed by Knox and Broks as they relay the remarkable story of Pat Martino. Rising to fame as a jazz guitar virtuoso in the 1960s and '70s, Martino underwent emergency surgery to remove a volatile brain tumor in 1980. Though the surgery most certainly saved his life, it also left him with no recollection of himself, his family, or his incredibly prolific career. Though he could recognize the face on the record sleeves as his own, Martino had lost his musical abilities and remained a virtual stranger to his parents. But his friends and family weren't willing to let their old friend simply disappear; his father played his old records at full volume, and his friends made it their personal mission to help him become the great artist they knew he used to be, and had the potential to become once gain. Pulling himself up from the depths of amnesia, Martino eventually made a full recovery. By tracing his unique story, the filmmakers not only reflect on the power of determination in overcoming incredible odds, but also explore the nature of creativity, self, memory, and the remarkable brain mechanisms that contribute to the construction of our personal identity.



amnesia, brain-tumor, guitar, identity, jazz, memory