Sep 8, 2009

13th Sept 2009; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
A film by Julian Schnabel
Year : 2007
Country : France
French with English subtitles
Run time : 112 min
13th Sept 2009; 5.45pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium
Phone : 94430 39630

The film is based on a real man who suffered a stroke and the book he astonishingly succeeded in writing .. The man was Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who was the editor of Elle, the French fashion magazine, when he had his paralyzing stroke. His memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, was published in 1997, shortly before he died.
This is almost unbearably poignant memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, who found himself immobilized by "locked-in syndrome" after a stroke, becomes a ready-made canvas for the painterly indulgences of Julian Schnabel in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Most compelling in its attempts to re-create the experience of paralysis onscreen, gorgeously lensed pic morphs into a dreamlike collage of memories and fantasies, distancing the viewer somewhat from Bauby's consciousness even as it seeks to take one deeper.
Schnabel and screenwriter Ronald Harwood capture all the inner demons – the shame of having to be cared for, the suicidal thoughts, the defeatist attitude, the embittered selfishness – that Bauby, played by Mathieu Amalric, had to battle. The film doesn’t make him out to be an inspirational hero, because he was all too human.
Bauby told the truth and nothing but in his autobiography, and Harwood and Schnabel faithfully depict his ordeal onscreen without filtering it through subjective editorializing. They don’t sugarcoat the fact that Bauby could be horribly disagreeable and difficult to deal with, but the viewers could still relate to him and care about his plight.

Janusz Kaminski, the cinematographer, is in large part responsible for freeing the film from its own dangers of being locked in. From the cloudy opening POV shots of Jean-Dominique regaining consciousness, Kaminski fills the screen with life and beauty.
Curiously enough, a movie about deprivation becomes a celebration of the richness of experience, and a remarkably rich experience in its own right. In his memoir Mr. Bauby performed a heroic feat of alchemy, turning horror into wisdom, and Mr. Schnabel, following his example and paying tribute to his accomplishment, has turned pity into joy.
(Compiled from Internet)

Julian Schnabel

Painting is like breathing to me. It’s what I do all the time.
Every day I make art, whether it is painting, writing or making a movie

Julian Schnabel (born October 26, 1951) is an American artist and filmmaker. He has been acclaimed at Cannes and has won a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, César Award, Golden Palm and two nominations for the Golden Lion and an Academy Award nomination. He has directed four films which were widely acclaimed, including Before Night Falls, which became Javier Bardem's breakthrough Academy Award nominated role, and the four-time Academy Award nominated The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. He is the interior decorator of the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City.

He received his B.F.A. at the University of Houston. After graduating, he sent an application to the independent study program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. His application included slides of his work sandwiched between two pieces of bread. He was admitted into the program. Schnabel worked as a short-order cook and frequented Max's Kansas City, a restaurant-nightclub, while he worked on his art. In 1975, Schnabel had his first solo show at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Over the next few years he traveled frequently to Europe, where he was enormously impressed by the work of Antoni Gaudi, Cy Twombly and Joseph Beuys.His art works are in museums throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

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