:::this is the way the world ends:::

Le Scaphandre et le papillon

diving-bell-and-the-butterfly-le-scaphandre-et-le-papillon-1[1] 

Ned, thanks for telling me about your thoughts on Persepolis and Sweetland.  I had heard about Persepolis (and have been meaning to check out the graphic novel it’s based on), but hadn’t heard anything about Sweetland.  It’s amazing to me the sheer amount of great movies that fly under the radar nowadays.  Quantity of Hollywood drowns the quality?

Speaking of quality, Steph and I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a week ago.  In Steph’s words, we “couldn’t look away” from Julian Schnabel’s direction, along with Janusz Kaminski’s gorgeous cinematography.  A gorgeous movie that is wonderfully sad, effecting, and surprisingly human…surprising in the fact that I’ve gotten used to the lack of human-“ness” in FX-laden movies. It takes the all of the glory and the shame in human existence and creates a portrait that lacks the usual Hollywood gloss, but has more character packed into it than all the summer blockbuster movies combined.

Maybe my surprise has to do with my tendency towards escapism in my movie choice.   It’s a little embarrassing to admit … but I feel as if I’ve gone soft and taken an easy route post-college.  I’ve only recently started to feel as if I need some more meat in my diet of cultural intake.  I just don’t find myself thinking critically as much anymore.  I think once I finished college, I was weary of the over-analytical stance I took towards most art and literature and abandoned it for the most part.  I think I’m ready for a homecoming.

One of the most amazing components about this film, (Steph and I spoke about this afterwards, in length) it allows the viewer to assume Jean-Dominique Bauby’s persepctive in the first third of the movie.  It’s almost as if we were sharing the same Diving Bell with Bauby, and later too, the Butterfly.  I think we’re still carrying a bit of the butterfly with us. 

Has anyone else seen the film?  I’d be curious as to thoughts and reactions from the rest of our group….

5 Comments

  1. Shotts

    Thanks for the posts, Toby and Ned. I have seen THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, and agree with everything you say about it here, Tob. It is really a remarkable and beautifully done film. The performance of the main actor is extraordinary. What makes it human is the way he remains such a critic and scoundrel–in other words, himself–even in the face of being “locked in,” completely paralyzed.

    Anyway, I add my high recommendation along to Toby’s.

    I haven’t seen too many movies lately, but have been watching some Netflix recently, including the 1964 Richard Burton/Peter O’Toole film BECKET and the recent Irish project to put all of Samuel Beckett’s dramatic works into film (BECKETT ON FILM)–some of which are quite interesting and successful (Krapp’s Last Tape, directed by Atom Egoyan, and Ohio Impromptu, starring (in double) Jeremy Irons), others lose a lot in the transfer from the stage (Waiting for Godot, for instance). I guess it’s probably obvious why I’ve been wanting to watch these particular films. Otherwise, I have been watching too much of the political conventions, and have put away CNN to happy results.

  2. Tobias

    An aside to connect the Hollywood blockbuster to the art film, the actor who played Bauby, Mathieu Amalric is te next Bond villian. Of course, I thought Casino Royale was fantastic and above the cut of the normal blockbuster.

  3. Ned

    Sara and I watched the Diving Bell and Butterfly several months ago. One of those films that amazingly puts things in perspective. I also watched the German film about the concentration camp counterfeiters too, good as well though I didn’t like the ending to that one.

  4. Amanda

    I’ve been looking for the Diving Bell and the Butterfly this past week, because I just remembered the title of the movie after racking my brain. Can’t find it so far.

  5. Tobias

    Amanda, let us know what you and Jeff think about the film after watching it…Steph said that she thinks all professionals in a health care positon should be required to watch it. That’s high praise comign from steph!

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