Le Scaphandre Et Le Papillon (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly)

Schnabel locks us inside the head of a man desperate to escape it –

A massive stroke left the editor of French Elle magazine Jean-Dominique Bauby with a condition known as “locked-in syndrome”: fully conscious but paralyzed, only his left eye remains. Using only blinks, Bauby dictates letter by letter, a miraculous memoir of his experience. It was published to huge acclaim. Unfortunately he died three days later.

Unique, agonizing and unbearably poignant, Jean-Dominique Bauby’s story is one of the most remarkable story ever told. Julian Schnabel adapts this inspiring story and put into the celluloid ribbon astonishingly remarkable. He literally traps us inside our own cinematic pleasure with startling effect. When Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) blinks, the camera blinks. Spielberg DoP Janusz Kaminski’s lens warps along with Bauby’s consciousness. We see doctors sew up Bauby’s atrophied right eye from the inside, “as if he were knitting a sock”.

Schnabel serves us, a full, compelling hour inside Bauby’s contorted point-of-view to see that single eye vision. But don’t worry, we leap outside afterward. By now, Amalric’s wry, sarcastic inner voice-over has hooked us irresistibly into a man battling despair and madness more by fearless ego and black humor. Picturing a classy flamboyant live, he continues to access life through a series of beautiful women – whether his acquaintance caregiver Henriette (Marie-Josée Croze), or the past loves of his life Céline (Emmanuelle Seigner) as he escapes into a sensual collage of memories and reveries.

This stylized inner world and his elaborate fantasy flashbacks, Schnabel runs close to art indulgence. But the director’s own cinematic eye is beautifully unsentimental and The Diving Bell’s most deeply felt scenes are the quietest-soothing unobtrusive.

3 Replies to “Le Scaphandre Et Le Papillon (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly)”

  1. Iya gituh? Random banget pertanyaannya, bro? :))… Hemmm..rasanya sih nggak juga. Kayaknya sih kalau cewek perancis kebanyakan Jacqueline, tapi gatau juga.. hahaha 😀

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