Monday, February 11, 2008

Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

oh. my.

it is a masterpiece.

i had been concerned about how the film would be handled, but Julian Schnabel 's painterly eye crafted a loving and aesthetically magical cinematic experience from what is the soul-wrenching true story of former French Elle Editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, a man trapped in a paralytic state. the film is based upon his memoir of the same title, "written" by using a code his speech therapist developed. calling upon his only form mobility, his blinking left eye, he would indicate the letter he desired -- as his translator dutifully and tirelessly read off the letters of a "most commonly used" alphabet.

the set design . . . the colors . . . the flowers . . . the perspective . . . the scene that depicts a doctor sewing shut Bauby's overly-dry right eye (from Bauby's vantage point!!!) . . . incroyable!
moments of unspeakable sadness bleed into brief, intense scenes of immense joy . . . when Bauby's translator tells him "you are my butterfly" (in the far more lovely French), i gasped and choked and spit my pitiful tears more than audibly. it caught me by surprise, although i'd read the memoir. the timing. the delivery. . . breathtaking.

it's beyond words. maybe i will some day find them. for now, i recommend that you go. see. this. film.

Schnabel won Best Director at Cannes 2008 for his unspeakably beautiful work on this film.

see also the American trailer, for a study in contrasts (hint: the French is wayyy better).

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