Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Le Scaphandre et le Papillion

The third film in the Kino season was the Julian Schnabel film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, or to give it it’s proper title Le Scaphandre et le Papillion. The film follows the life of Jean-Dominique Bauby after he has recently suffered a stroke, which has left him with ‘locked in syndrome’. His mind, memory and imagination are in tact but he is left paralyzed and only able to communicate through blinking. A lot of the film is played out through the eyes of ‘Jean-Do’ and we listen to his inner monologue as almost narration. The film sets out to make you feel claustrophobic and empathize with Jean-Do and his disability, as the film continues things become free as he comes to terms with what is now his life.

Although the film was very sad I also found it very inspirational. The film shows life is a gift and a beautiful thing not to be taken lightly. Jean-Do regrets having not spent more time with children and how terrible he has been to people in his life such as his wife, or as he describes her at the start of the film “she is not my wife, she is the mother of my children’. The relationship with his father is also very beautiful. His father being housebound and Jean-Do being hospitalized they realize that they are not going to be able to see each other and the exchange they have over the phone is very moving. At the start of the film I was trying to place myself in his position and how I would feel, then I agreed with Jean-Do and thought to myself that I probably would rather be dead than have that as my existence. However by the end of the film I found myself turned around and realized that would be a very selfish view to hold taking the feelings of your friends and loved ones into consideration. An excellent film, very emotive and thought provoking.

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