Friday, November 13, 2009

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Movie: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Like/Don't Like: Liked

I'm not sure why I completely forgot that this was a French film and therefore, they would be speaking in French. When this happened my friend Krii and I both looked at each other and said, "huh?" We were tired, okay? Also, the subtitles didn't automatically come on.

So, oui, it is French. Which is irrelevant in regards to the gist of the film but explains a lot when you find yourself thinking, "Boy, that was odd," or "Was that a naked woman I just saw?"

It's a true story about Jean-Dominique Bauby who was the editor-in-chief for Elle and lived a fancy jet-setting French kind of life until one day he had a stroke and was completely paralyzed except for his left eye. He woke up from his coma aware and alert but unable to move or communicate. His therapist discovered that his mind was still functioning and thinking and set out to help him communicate by having him blink his one good eye. Once for yes and twice for no. Eventually he was able to spell out words and sentences by having someone read through the alphabet and he would blink when the letter he wanted would come up.

He wrote a book this way. I just checked on Amazon, it's 144 pages long. He blinked out 144 pages. Which basically makes everyone who has ever wanted to write a book but has gotten hung up on something look like pansies.

The film is partially seen from his point of view, so basically, his one good eye. People come in and out of view and you can hear his thoughts and responses to their questions. You don't actually see him until he starts seeing himself - in reflexions in windows or TV screens. And there are flashbacks to before the stroke which give you some details on how his life was with his job and his kids. It was both sad and beautiful to hear his thoughts (I'm assuming most of it was taken from his book) about what it means to be bed-ridden and paralysed and at the mercy of everyone around you - the person who bathes you, the nurse who turns you tv on or off, the long Sundays when it's a light staff and no one comes to visit. It's amazing to me that instead of falling into some deep despair he managed to not only rally but live the best that he could.

1 comment:

Rach said...

This has been sitting on my DVR for 6 months, because I started it and realized I needed to watch it when I could just sit down and read the subtitles and be patient with the one eye thing. I lasted 5 minutes on my first attempt. So I will try again, because you liked it, and I trust your taste. I just need to get a good night's sleep beforehand.