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.
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To be able to communicate only by blinking at the letter you want...I couldn't imagine it. I've been wanting to see this film for a long time, and you make it sound so beautiful! Wonderful write up, Diana :)ReplyDelete
Thank you Ruth, I am glad you enjoyed it, I tried to explain the best I could the beauty of it!Delete
I love this movie. Everything about it is wonderful. The POV shots in the first half of the film are especially mindblowing. My favourite part of the whole movie was Max von Sydow though. The man is incredible. Great review!ReplyDelete
He was, indeed, wonderful, he gave such an emotional, strong performance, I loved it, too!Delete
This is such a brilliant film. The way it's made is incredible - but that's part of the reason I probably won't be able to watch it ever again. So painful! Anyways, great review!ReplyDelete
I understand why you say it's too painful, I probably won't either. Thanks!Delete
This film is just amazing. I mean it's gorgeous, but so heartbreaking. I can't imagine ever going through something like this. And yes the POV parts are mindblowing. Fun fact- Johnny Depp was originally approached for Bauby's role.ReplyDelete
I know about the Johnny Depp thing, I read it on the IMDb page. As much as I love Depp, Mathieu was the perfect choice for the part!Delete
Beautiful review! I never saw the film but I saw some screencaps from it and the cinematograhpy looks just brilliant.ReplyDelete
Thanks! You should really see it, it's very moving, but also very beautiful!Delete
Definitely one of the great films that year. I just love the look of it, how it was directed, and the music. I just saw a copy of the DVD at Barnes & Noble for $5. I think I should get it next time I'm there and have some cash to spare.ReplyDelete
Definitely buy it next time!Delete
I am with the consensus here.. Love this movie(In my Top 100), POV shots are phenomenal(took me around 30 seconds to realise what's happening though) and cinematography is brilliant !!ReplyDelete
Yeah, if I didn't knew what was the story about, I probably would have been confused, too! Thanks!Delete
I've had this in my to watch pile, so I'll get to sooner rather than later. Glad to see that another person finds the movie wonderful.ReplyDelete
Yeah, you should give it a try soon, it's very moving!Delete
I was quite intrigued by this a while back but haven't got around to seeing this. I'll probably be a basket case when I watch this, I'm a cryer and this one sounds heartbreaking.ReplyDelete
If you are a cryer, then yeah, you would start watching this with a handkerchief near youDelete
Like most of the commenters here, I love everything about this movie. Gorgeously shot, wonderfully directed - it's just a damn fine film. Damn fine. Really good review here, Diana, the movie is a tear jerker indeed!ReplyDelete
Julian Schnabel is great, too bad we haven't heard that much of him lately!Delete
Love this film. It was so beautiful. Was especially touched by the ending …ReplyDelete
It was beautiful and very touching. I'm usually not a cryer, but lately I've been crying to a lot of films....weird!Delete