Monday, December 5, 2011

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. A Review.

     This film is about 4 years old; I think it's been in my queue for about 3 1/2.  It's a movie I always meant to watch, but then it would get pushed down the list in favor of a comedy or something not in French.  Oh, what a mistake.
     The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, based on the book of the same title.  Jean-Do wrote the book whilst in the hospital after suffering a massive stroke.  In France, his story was very well known; he was famous as the editor of Elle so people really cared about his story.  
     The filmmakers brought us into Jean-Do's world immediately.  Eventually it became uncomfortable.  And just when the uncomfortableness was about to reach fever pitch, they pulled us out and started showing us the rest of his world--his memories and his imagination.  
     The word most commonly associated with this film is beautiful.  I agree.  It was really very beautiful.  Janusz Kaminski is a cinematographic genius.  Everything was done in-camera, as is the term, and it's pretty darn remarkable.  All of this information is included on the special features of the DVD; I recommend watching those as well.
     It's definitely not a comedy, but there were a few moments of humor in the film.  It's about the indomitable human spirit, and often the human spirit is funny.  The film is in French, because Jean-Dominique Bauby was French.  The book was in French and everything happens in France, so the director, Julian Schnabel, wanted to maintain that realness and that frenchiness.  He succeeded.  It's very French.
     The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is a very fine film.  If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.   

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