Saturday, May 3, 2008

MOVIE: THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY



ABOUT: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a 2007 film directed by painter-director Julian Schnabel, written by Ronald Harwood and starring French actor Mathieu Amalric. It is based on the French memoir Le Scaphandre et le Papillon by Jean-Dominique Bauby.

The film tells the remarkable tale of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), the world-renowned editor of French ELLE magazine, who suffered a stroke and was paralyzed by the inexplicable "locked in" syndrome at the age of 43. Bauby's only way of communicating with the outside world was by blinking with one eye, and after several dedicated helpers--a string of impossibly beautiful women (Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josee Croze, Olatz Lopez Garamendia, Anne Consigny)--helped him to speak through this seemingly irrelevant gesture, he began to produce the words that would form his memoir. Along the way, as he swam in and out of consciousness, memories from his past swelled into the present, resulting in a cinematic experience that is at once heartbreaking and hopeful.

The film premiered in competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival on May 22, where Schnabel won, two weeks later, the Award for Best Director. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, and won a BAFTA award. Schnabel also won Best Director at the 65th Golden Globe Awards, where the film won Best Foreign Language Film. Due to the fact that the film was produced by an American company, it was ineligible for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.




MY REVIEW: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly could have easily been a Lifetime movie of the week. But thanks to director Julian Schnabel and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (who does all of Steven Spielberg's films) it is not. The movie has all the elements of one too but rises above the formula for telling films like these and instead uses the POV of Bauby to tell the story. And becuase of the book that he wrote we are able to kind of see what it was like through him instead of the filmmakers playing it safe.

The book is unread by me but I'm pretty sure the filmmakers were faithful to it and to Bauby. The film can be kind of tough to watch for the first 30 minutes of the movie when most of it is seen through the eyes of Bauby. A lot of camera tricks get in the way but not too much as they are essential to the story and not as flashy as you might think. It just makes it a little harder to watch, especially while reading subtitles because I'm not French and you're probably not either.

With all the camera effects aside, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is a great story to be told and we are lucky that Bauby had the courage to tell it to us.


MY RATING: 7 OUT OF 10


DOWNLOAD "THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY" FOR FREE USING BITTORRENT

BUY "THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY" FROM MOVIE EYE FOR ONLY $11.69

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", but the movie I'd rather see is "My Stroke of Insight", which is the amazing bestselling book by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor. It is an incredible story and there's a happy ending. She was a 37 year old Harvard brain scientist who had a stroke in the left half of her brain. The story is about how she fully recovered, what she learned and experienced, and it teaches a lot about how to live a better life. Her TEDTalk at TED dot com is fantastic too. It's been spread online millions of times and you'll see why!