We re going deep this week as we Queue up the (2007) French Film THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY, the astonishing true-life story of Jean-Dominic Bauby, a man who held the world in his palm, lost everything to sudden paralysis at the age of 43, and somehow found the strength to rebound. This story was first received in Bauby s best-selling autobiography The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, then in Jean-Jacques Beineix s half-hour 1997 documentary of the same title, ten years after that Julian Schnable helms the camera in this full length motion picture. The movie follows Bauby s story, his instantaneous descent from a wealthy and congenial playboy and the editor of French Elle, to a bed-bound, hospitalized stroke victim with an inactive brain stem that made it impossible for him to speak or move a muscle of his body. This prison, as it were, became a kind of diving bell for Bauby- one with no means of escape. With the editor s mind unaffected, his only solace lay in the butterfly of his seemingly depthless fantasies and memories. Because of Bauby s physical restriction, he only possessed one channel for communication with the outside world, his single unaffected eye. By blinking, he not only began to interact again with the world around him, but incredibly, authored the said memoir via a code used to signify specific letters of the alphabet, Mathieu Amalric tackles the difficult role of Bauby in this film about the final last stand of the human spirit.
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