Sunday, December 23, 2007

Le Scaphandre et le Papillon

The Papillon in the title of Le Scaphandre et le Papillon has nothing to do with our dog Riley, unfortunately.

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY is based on the true story of the editor of Elle magazine who had a debilitating stroke and ended up dictating his autobiography by moving one eyelid, the only part of his body over which he still had muscle control. Directed by artist Julian Schnabel, the film goes to great extents to make the audience feel what it must have been like to be trapped and immobile. The film has a lot of wonderfully cinematic moments, but it is an incredibly depressing movie.

I have to admit it was strange watching it in a house where my father-in-law is essentially in the same condition. Once a brilliant lawyer, he is trapped in an immobile body from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, he cannot blink to tell us what he wants.

The hospital scenes also reminded me of my own time in the hospital, and the incredible depression I associate with that. Recently I went caroling with the Burbank Chorale at the hospital where I was trapped for a month, and it brought back a flood of depressing memories as well. At least I was never paralyzed.

The film has been nominated for a slew of awards, including some Spirit and Golden Globe awards. It's too soon to say if it might win, as there are many films I still haven't seen, but it is certainly in contention, particularly the cinematography of Januzs Kaminski.

No comments: