The Diving Bell & the Butterfly

the diving bell and the butterfly Sometimes, The BF has to drag me to movies.

Okay, most of the time. He's remained a more ardent fan of both film and music, almost always willing to put up with the minor discomfort that trekking out to consume new things involves. I don't know when I shifted from being the girl who'd see four (challenging) movies on a weekend in New York City to the old lady who'd rather stay in and watch a DVD, but there's no denying I've shifted demographics.

Well, come on, like you'd want to leave your comfortable home and drive through 10 miles of Los Angeles semi-rush hour traffic to see a movie about a man who's struck down by a massive stroke in the prime of life and wakes up from his coma to find the only thing he can move is his left eyelid?

As my friend, Danimus, likes to say, "The goody-good times." I'm glad I don't have to market this film.

And yet, I'm about to. Because that's the only way a great but challenging film like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is going to get the audience it deserves: one rave at a time.

I can do nothing but rave, save perhaps marvel. How did the editor of French Elle know what I was going through when I had my own hospital epiphany? How did he bat out an entire memoir with his eyelid? How did director Julian Schnabel make this story come alive, brilliantly, burstingly, hilariously alive, with a main character who was, for all intents and purposes, immobilized?

Most of all, how come none of that matters and the film ends up being about love and human foibles and communication and all the other utterly mundane (but profound) things we struggle with day in and day out, no matter what our level of autonomy or mobility or self-understanding?

There's not a false performance in the film, and everything, the music, the lighting, the design, is beautiful. Unobtrusively so, there to serve the story and not for dig-me purposes. Full and mad props go to Schnabel, director of the also-excellent Before Night Falls, who won the Best Director Lion at Cannes for Diving Bell.

It's also the perfect tonic for a trippy season, this overly-amped time of year when we wonder why there's no there there and whether maybe we haven't all got things a bit bollixed up and backwards. We have, but Jean-Dominique Bauby's message is that it's not so difficult to sort it out, should we really want to. Connect with your humanity, with the magnificence that is the ability to feel a thing and communicate it to another living soul, and you will reconnect to the all-that-is.

It is maybe a little more difficult to do when you have so many moving parts in the way, but it is possible. Live, live, live while you have the chance.

See this movie if you need a little reminder of all the good reasons why.

xxx c

Image of the delicious Emmanuelle Seigner lifted from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly site.