in about 100 words or less
France, US 112m, Colour
Director: Julian Schnabel; Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Max von Sydow
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a strikingly original and brilliantly acted film based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s autobiography of the same name. Bauby, once the debonair editor of the French fashion magazine Elle, is left paralyzed after a stroke and only able to communicate by blinking one eye in which he laboriously dictates his story. Initially we see his world in first-person through Bauby’s limited physical perspective as he awakens from a coma. As the story advances, and Bauby’s world widens, we learn his innermost thoughts and dreams through often startling images, beautifully fitting music, and ultimately via his own words. Though taking some liberties regarding his relationships for dramatic effect, the film is a remarkably moving and astonishingly sad personal document (Klaus Ming December 2013).