DVD of the Week – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
by RISHI AGRAWAL
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a French film by American director Julian Schnabel, is based on the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor of French Elle magazine. Bauby, after suffering a stroke, is left paralyzed except for one eyelid, though he remains fully cognizant. By developing a system of blinking, Bauby is able to write his memoir one letter at a time.
The most remarkable thing about the film is that Bauby’s character grows throughout the film, though his medical condition remains unchanged. The film can feel extremely claustrophobic at times, especially when the camera films from Bauby’s perspective through his one good eye, but towards the end, the film becomes more expansive and inspirational. But, if all we got was the inspirational message, the film would become overly sentimental. Instead, the film is peppered with Bauby’s inner monologue, which is witty, intelligent, and self-deprecating.
Though the film was nominated for four Oscars (Directing, Editing, Screenplay and Cinematography), this was not a film that really received the attention it deserved. But now that it is available on DVD, it’s a good chance to check it out. Unfortunately, the film comes with no special features.
Other new releases this week: 27 Dresses, The Golden Compass, How She Move, King Corn, Nanking