In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon: Is the Singer Struggling With His Hearing?

Paul Simon
(Photo Credit: Ilya S. Savenok | Getty Images)
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Recently, the first part of In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon came out on MGM+. Directed by Alex Gibney, this documentary delves into the life and career of celebrated American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. The second part of this project was released on March 24, 2024.

As reported by The New York Times, the process of creating this documentary proved to be a once-in-a-lifetime journey for Alex Gibney. This opportunity arose when Paul Simon invited Gibney to join him at his ranch in Wimberley, Texas, to attend the recording sessions for his latest album, Seven Psalms. Released on May 19, 2023, Seven Psalms comprises seven tracks spanning over 33 minutes. The album garnered acclaim from audiences and critics alike, lauding its musical prowess and profound lyricism.

However, upon arriving at Simon’s ranch, Gibney learned that the former was struggling with hearing in his left ear. The 82-year-old legend found it hard to sing in tune and detect the pitches. The director reflected on his experience by stating, “You saw a guy who was used to being extremely healthy and athletic for most of his life, and now, suddenly, things were happening that he couldn’t control.”

In fact, trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, who appears several times in the documentary, admitted that it was hard to watch Paul Simon struggle. He said, “But he (Paul Simon) doesn’t whine, you know. He’s not like ‘woe is me.’ He’s just trying to find solutions to problems.”

According to IMDb, the synopsis of In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon reads, “Paul Simon follows him inside the studio making his new album Seven Psalms while looking back on his six-decade career with countless musical peaks from Sounds of Silence to Graceland.”

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon director Alex Gibney called the documentary “a story of struggle”

During his career, Alex Gibney has helmed several documentaries that explore various themes. Most of these are grim and brutal, showcasing corruption, deception, and other challenges that appear in every path. However, for him, making this documentary felt like a breath of fresh air.

Gibney stated that his project was a story of struggle and not easy to showcase. He said, “It’s a story of struggle. But without the struggle, it would have been a less interesting film. It would have been a greatest hits film. But the struggle of trying to reckon with your own mortality, even as you’re creating, and how that relates to the entirety of your life? That’s potent.”

Currently 70, Gibney is considered one of the greatest documentary filmmakers ever. Some of his best-known projects are The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, and so on. In addition, his documentaries have won several Emmy Awards, as well as Grammy Award nominations.

Alex Gibney was born on October 23, 1953, to Harriet Harvey and Frank Gibney. His father, Frank, was a prominent journalist and scholar who passed away in 2006.

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