08 19 Oct '24
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Christopher Rawlence, Christopher Rawlence

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Edition 1988
75' - 1987 - Drama, Music/Musical - Dialogue: German, English
Director: Christopher Rawlence, Christopher Rawlence With: John Tighe, Oliver Sacks, Emile Belcourt
Doctor P., a distinguished singer, visits a neurologist. He is suffering from a profound visual agnosia. He can see but he cannot recognize. Even the most familiar faces are a puzzle to him, including that of his wife. After conducting a series of tests, the neurologist is none the wiser, failing to understand how a man with such visual devastation can manage the simplest practicalities of life such as dressing, eating and washing. Mrs. P. finally comes to his rescue by pointing out that her husband hums and sings his way through the day. The neurologist realizes that Doctor P. has substituted the world of music for the world of vision. When the music stops, his fragile world shatters into abstraction.
Michael Nyman's opera is perfectly suited to this bizarre story. In this extraordinarily moving film, opera becomes part of everyday life as a man grapples with the early stages of Alzheimer 's Disease. Oliver Sacks himself appears in the film, to guide us through the unfolding stages of his case study.

Image gallery

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Christopher Rawlence, Christopher Rawlence


John Tighe, Oliver Sacks, Emile Belcourt


Michael Morris, Michael Nyman

Director of Photography

Christopher Morphet


Howard Sharp


Debra Hauer

More information


German, English

Countries of production

United Kingdom

Screenplay based on

"The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" (Oliver Sack)



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