Monday, December 31, 2007

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

Directed by Julian Schnabel, the film is based on the true story of Elle Magazine editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was paralyzed by a stroke at age 43. Unable to move any part of his body except for his left eye, Bauby learns to communicate through a series of blinking the alphabet. And in doing so, "writes" the book that becomes "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly".

With the help of a translator, Henriette Roi, Bauby manages to communicate his thoughts through a very repetitive process that, while a triumph for him, begins to grate on the viewer. What saves the film, is the imaginative way Mr. Schnabel shows us what is going on in Mr. Bauby's mind. His imagination and memory are the only things that sustain him. The artistic flashbacks and dream sequences that connect all the elements of the film are very well done.

Mathieu Amalric gives an outstanding performance as Bauby. To express oneself though only one eye is remarkable. It's also his witty and emotional voiceover that guides us and allows us an intimate link to the character.

The film is in French with English subtitles.

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