May 28, 2012
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon 
"Le Scaphandre et le Papillon" is 2007 movie directed by Julian Schnabel and based on a novel by Jean-Dominique Bauby, with a script penned by Ronald Harwood. It tells the remarkable true story of a famous editor-in-chief of Elle who one day suffers a cerebrovascular accident and becomes complete paralyzed, developing the extremely rare syndrome called "locked in".
The movie mostly follows his life after the accident, with few flashbacks into the past to explain some things. The interesting, yet sad and chilling aspect of it comes up when he has to communicate- the speech trainer implements a unique way of him to transmit his thoughts. Because he can only blink with one eye, the woman (or whoever wants to ask him something) has to read him the alphabet and he blinks for each letter in order to form a word. It might seem hard to do, so you will be surprised to see that, not only did he succeed in doing it, but he wrote a book about his life and his thoughts- like I recently read somewhere, he blinked out a book, which I am sure you will find it fascinating, as I did.
The moment he starts dictating to the girl sent by the publisher, my tears started falling and I couldn't stop. It is so moving and touching to see a man who only has his imagination and memory to live by, speak so eloquently and beautiful about life and what surrounds him, patiently dictating the long, beautiful words to the women- I was shaken by this man's will and power- he should be an example for anyone who's ever thought life is tough or boring or who believes they have nothing to live for- if this man can do it, you certainly can, too. There were many other touching moments, as well: the visit from Pierre, his friend who was held hostage for years, who says to him "Cling to your humanity and you will survive", or the Father's Day visit from his children. The beauty lies not only in the story, but in the emotions transmitted to the audience through a remarkable way of filmmaking.
Speaking of which, one of the key aspects of what made this film so special was the distinctive way of shooting, as Julian Schnabel desperately tried to show us the world through the paralyzed man's point of view- the image is blurry, it moves erratically, it's not focused and you mostly see legs and bodies. By that, it's 1000 times more powerful, as you experience and understand what the man is going through. The cinematography was wonderful and the direction was in par with the moving script and sublime performance of Mathieu Amalric, the main actor. The suppporting cast was lovely: Max von Sydow (the father), Emmanuelle Seigner (the mother of the children), Anne Consigny (the girl who helped him write the book) and my favorite, Marie-Josee Croze (the speech trainer)- she has one of the sweetest, eye-catching, kind faces I have seen and she reminds me so much of Naomi Watts, it's just crazy.
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, is a touching drama that you need to see whenever you think you're unlucky or your life sucks- yes, it is sad and tragic, but after all the crying, you will realize just how lucky you really are.