Release Date March 17, 2024

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon

Synopsis /

On January 15, 2019, Simon had a dream in which a voice told him, “you’re working on a piece
called ‘Seven Psalms.’” In the months that followed, lines and phrases would come to him at
odd moments, sometimes even while he was asleep. He began to hear the melody that would
stitch the bits and pieces together. The process continued during the pandemic. As the verses
took shape – like a series of photographs emerging from the chemical baths of a darkroom –
Simon reached out to Gibney to see if he would be interested in filming his process of taking the
basic elements and turning them into the album that would become Seven Psalms.
In the time it took to gather a small crew, Gibney and producer Svetlana Zill traveled to Simon’s
new studio in Wimberly, Texas, where Simon sketched out, on guitar and raw vocals, a series of
songs that examined faith, death, the existence of God (and the mystery of creation). “This
whole piece is really an argument I’m having with myself about belief, or not,” says Simon in the
film. As the themes of the new music become clear, so too, for Gibney, did the idea that these
sessions might offer a perfect lens through which to tell the story of Simon’s evolution from
working-class Queens kid to becoming one of music’s most innovative and celebrated
The film juxtaposes the process of making the new album against archival material tracing
Simon’s career and creative journey, including revelatory, previously unseen footage from such
historic moments as the recording of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Graceland” and Simon
& Garfunkel’s unforgettable reunion concert in Central Park, and 10 years later, Simon’s solo
concert there performed before 750,000 people. “In Restless Dreams” is a meeting of two
masters of their craft, a deep look into the miracle and wonder of songwriting, and an
exploration of a life of singular creativity that has lost none of its curiosity, ambition and mystery.

Director /

  • Alex Gibney

Produced by /

  • Erin Edeiken
  • Svetlana Zill
  • Alex Gibney
  • David Rhatz

Executive Producers /

  • Zhang Xin
  • William Horberg
  • Bob Xu
  • Joey Marra
  • Nick Shumaker
  • Jessica Grimshaw
  • David Levine
  • Stacey Offman
  • Richard Perello
  • Kristen Vaurio

Cinematography by /

  • Benjamin Bloodwell

Edited by /

  • Andy Grieve, ACE