A Sixteen Films film, made with the support of the Wellcome Trust Sciart Award.
In 1980 Pat Martino moved his belongings from California to Philadelphia to live with two complete strangers: his parents. As a young jazz guitar virtuoso he had achieved near legendary status during the 60s and 70s, before being diagnosed with a life-threatening brain condition. Surgery had saved his life but wiped his memory. Back in his childhood home, surrounded by the relics of his former life, his father played him his old recordings at full volume and friends rallied to try to coax him back to being the great artist he had been. He could not dispute the evidence; the face in the mirror was the same as the one on the record sleeves but it meant nothing to him. Amnesia had ripped selfhood from his brain and rendered his life meaningless. He was nobody.
Director Ian Knox and Neuropsycologist Paul Broks travel America in search of the soul of the legendary jazz guitar great Pat Martino. Tracing his remarkable return from the depths of amnesia to the peak of artistic achievement, Broks explores the nature of memory, self, creativity and the mysterious brain mechanisms underlying the construction of personal identity. What is the self? How much change can it survive? Pat Martino is an unlikely American hero whose moving story holds meaning for us all.