Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00
Local opening date: January 4, 2008
Reviewed by Diane Carson
Jean-Dominique Bauby enjoys a wonderful professional and personal life: editor of the French fashion magazine Elle, beloved father of two, and lover of several lovely women. Then, in 1995 at the young age of 43, he suffers an unusual cerebrovascular accident, a stroke that leaves him in an extremely rare predicament, what is called "locked-in syndrome." Paralyzed physically, including an inability to speak, Jean-Do is, nonetheless, mentally alert and comprehending. It is in this state that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly first presents Jean-Do as he gradually grasps the full import of his situation and remarkably triumphs creatively over it.

Jean-Do benefits from superior medical support. Through the use of the only physical control he has, the blink of his left eye, he dictates the real-life book on which The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is based by blinking when the correct letter is read by his assistant. Presented primarily from Jean-Do's subjective point of view, brief flashbacks illuminate his earlier life and flights of fancy fill in the rich history of the Berck-sur-Mer hospital where he's treated. Those who visit him-friends, colleagues and the wife of his children-reveal more about themselves than Jean-Do. The most touching moments include a phone call with his 92 year old father, played with heartbreaking intensity by Max von Sydow. Equally up to the demanding role of Jean-Do is Mathieu Amalric who transforms himself. The women are almost universally superb and gorgeous, though too many sexist comments are indulged in this regard.

Director Julian Schnabel and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski have transformed a tragedy into a brilliant celebration of life. Kaminski did all the technical effects in the camera without computer generated manipulation, and the impact is to pull the viewer into Bauby's mental and emotional state. The intensity of the atmosphere benefits from the film being shot entirely on the location where Bauby received treatment and with several of the nurses and therapists cast in their roles.

The diving bell of the title metaphorically describes Bauby's imprisoned physical state, the butterfly metaphor expresses his imaginative metamorphosis into a beautiful, albeit short-lived being. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has won numerous top-level awards, has been named the best film of the year by prestigious groups, and is an original, inspirational film of the highest order. At Landmark's Plaza Frontenac Cinema.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


February
Friday
06

Leo Kottke

KDHX welcomes Leo Kottke to The Sheldon on Friday, February 6th at 8 PM. Folk guitarist Leo Kottke is known for his innovative 12-string technique, and intimate performance style.


February
Saturday
07

DIY Mixing/Mastering Workshop with Patrick Crecelius

KDHX is proud to host a DIY mixing workshop for musicians at The Stage at KDHX. The clinic will be taught by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his credits include such local artists as Ryan...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

13 users and 10043 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook