Friday, February 22, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I meant to post earlier about this film which I'd greatly anticipated for months. Wayne took me for a pre-Valentines Day night out which proved fortuitous since I was so sick on the actual holiday I didn't even know it was Valentines Day. The chocolate covered strawberries I'd saved for the day went to sludge in the fridge and the gifts I'd bought the week prior were weakly handed to my valentine in plastic shopping bags. He hates plastic shopping bags.
Suffice it to say that after almost a full week on the rack (was that really a mattress?), a second week that kept the girls home from school with two snow days and one holiday, and nasty weather that has trapped us indoors I've gotten a little stir crazy. In comparison to Jean-Dominique Bauby's "locked-in syndrome," my life is a rose garden, if currently a frozen one. And as much as I feel I could go mad with cabin fever, I can't imagine being locked inside my own body with only my left eye still functioning. But that's not true: I did imagine it, so convincing was Julian Schnabel's portrayal of Bauby's plight. You can't leave after seeing the movie without feeling tremendous gratitude for your life, your limbs, the physical freedom you take for granted. The ability to kiss your kids' cheeks, to feel your love's hand in your hair.
The film, based on the memoir Bauby tapped out with his one working eyelid in gorgeous prose is visually and philosophically stunning. There seems to be no level of human diminishment from which some measure of beauty and redemption cannot be wrung. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a beautiful film--go see it, especially if you too dwell in a land of long winter and feel the walls are closing in. You can sometimes see the heavens reflected in the pupil of an eye. But only in the eye that's open.


jenni said...

Johnny gave me this book, but after I read it, I really do want to see this movie badly.

Anonymous said...

I loved "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", but the movie I'd rather see is "My Stroke of Insight", which is the amazing bestselling book by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor. It is an incredible story and there's a happy ending. She was a 37 year old Harvard brain scientist who had a stroke in the left half of her brain. The story is about how she fully recovered, what she learned and experienced, and it teaches a lot about how to live a better life. Her TEDTalk at TED dot com is fantastic too. It's been spread online millions of times and you'll see why!