Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jean-Dominique Bauby - Le scaphandre et le papillon

I have read and heard a dozen stories about the strength of human spirit but Jean-Dominique Bauby's, (23 April 1952 – 9 March 1997)), story trumped them all.
The movie "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", (Le scaphandre et le papillion), masterfully directed by Julian Schnabel is based on Jean-do's, as he was called by his close friends and family, life after he was diagnosed by a very rare condition of locked-in syndrome.  The illness took away all sense and mobility and left him with one motion, a blink of one eye.  His fully functional brain grasped all the stimulus in his surrounding but was unable to react to it.
His life pre-stroke, masterfully shown by image flash backs through out the movie, is one filled with richness, and glamor of an editor of the famous French fashion magazine, Elle.  The movie is artfully showing the life of an artist whose imagination is strong enough to create despite his inertia!

His nurse, a gorgeous looking woman full of life and compassion, so ironic and appropriate for a man who has been surrounded and involved with beautiful women day in day out, is his last muse.  Through her, he writes a book in the most unconventional way, using partner assisted scanning or listener assisted scanning, a technique used for a person with severe speech impairment to communicate.
The movie became a favorite in the award circles the year it was released, 2007.  It was nominated for 4 Oscars, and won the award for best director at Cannes and best foreign movie at Golden Globes.
C'est magnifique!