Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Just watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on DVD.

Henry James once said, "Plot is characters under stress." Journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby, the central character of the film, is under excruciating stress. The movie begins as he awakes from a coma to find himself paralyzed from head to toe.

From Wikipedia: "The film is initially told entirely from the restricted point of view of Bauby, as he wakes from his three-week coma in a hospital in Berck, France. A neurologist explains that he has locked-in syndrome, an extremely rare condition in which the patient is almost completely physically paralyzed, but remains mentally normal. The viewer hears the thoughts of Bauby, which are unattainable to the other characters, and sees through his one functioning eye.

"A speech therapist and physical therapist try to help Bauby become as functional as possible. Bauby cannot speak, but he develops a system of communication with his speech therapist by blinking his left eye as she reads a list of letters to spell out his messages, letter by letter."

Blinking his left eye, a letter at a time, Bauby wrote the book the movie is based upon over the next--and last--year of his life. I hope to read it soon.

A stunning movie. Recommended highly.

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