Monday, February 4, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I saw the movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly this past weekend. The film is based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who at age 42 was paralyzed by a stroke. As a result of brain damage, he could move only one eyelid. The movie is the account of how he dictated his book. The book is the basis for this film. It’s a surprising and complex movie. It’s not about limitations, about being physically incapacitated. It’s about learning to live after a huge loss and about the relationships that sustain us. The tenderness between Bauby and his aging father is particularly well-portrayed, as is that between him and his young son. At one of the major turning points in the movie, Bauby says in spite of his lost faculties, he has two things left. I won’t tell you what they are; you’ll have to see the movie. I plan to read the book, and maybe see the movie again – it’s that good! Julian Schnabel, who directed the movie, is a kind of Renaissance man and an artist, and his artistry and imagination are evident in the movie. How many people could make a riveting movie about a man who can do nothing except blink one eye?

Watch the movie trailer