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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Julian Schnabel
Le scaphander et le papillon
France, USA 2007 / 112’

In 1995 the editor-in-chief of the French Elle, Jean-Dominique Bauby, a successful man of the world and bon vivant, suffered a stroke at 43 and as a result became completely paralysed. Bauby wakes up after many days in a coma, immobile from head to toe, able to move only one eyelid and yet still with his mind absolutely clear, capable of understanding this terrible situation - for some probably worse than death. So the body was imprisoned, as if closed in a diving bell, but his memory and imagination work very well and his spirit flies freely as a butterfly. (…)
Schnabel - supported by the intelligent screenplay of Ron Harwood and inventive cinematography of Janusz Kamiński - managed to achieve the impossible: out of unrewarding, extra-difficult material he made a poignant film - which is neither sentimental, depressive, nor boring.
Paweł Mossakowski, Gazeta Wyborcza

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