Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Notes on THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY from our Gmunden Correspondent, Georg:

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY has the capacity to be a major success because it combines both artistic quality and accessibility. It has artistic quality because it was made by Julian Schnabel, a director who is also an artist and photographer. He has a great sense of visual style. Schnabel and the Director of Photography, Janusz Kaminski, manage to capture what it must be like to have “locked-in” syndrome. The opening part of this biopic takes place from the point of view of Jean-Dominique Bauby. He wakes from a coma and we hear his thoughts. We look through his one functioning eye and interpret distorted sights.

The movie is accessible because Bauby has a terrific sense of humour. Even though he has been struck by illness, his voice-overs are actually very funny. In fact, THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY is one of the funnier movies I have seen in recent time. Bauby shows us what his life used to be in flash-backs. Before the accident, Bauby was editor of French Elle magazine. He had a long-term lover and children. He also had a hot current girlfriend. He was a bit of a playboy. There is a dramatic tension because the current lover finds it too painful to visit Bauby in hospital.

This is really a great film and should be a big success.

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY played Cannes 2007 where it won the prize for Best Director and Technical Achievement. It also played Toronto and London 2007 and was released in Belgium, France and the Netherlands earlier this year. It is released in Greece and the US in November and in Denmark and Australia in December. It is released in Spain, Sweden and Finland in January and in the UK in February.

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