Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

I watched this masterful piece of film-making the other day. I was impressed right from the opening sequences shot from behind the protagonist's eyelids as he awakes from a coma, to the bittersweet end. 

It's the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of the French edition of Elle, who suffered a massive stroke and was left completely paralysed, apart from one eye. He used this eye, thanks to the therapists and those around him, to dictate a book about life before and since the accident; by blinking as his assistant read out the letters of the alphabet, in order of frequency of use. It's an amazing film. Apparently, Spielberg had the rights and wanted Johnny Depp; but as he was busy with Pirates Of The Caribbean, Julian Schnabel took over the project. Depp had suggested the director, in fact. A sequence of events that could have led to a completely different film.

I bought the book the very next day. The film was faithful to it, and in some ways surpasses it. I'd highly recommend watching this movie. Despite the subject matter, it is very funny in places...Bauby dealt with his condition admirably. He, and the film, are inspirational.

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