The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby hengcs » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:48 pm



Director: Julian Schnabel
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze

I shall reserve the full review for justin ... hee hee

My Thoughts

(i) The story telling and filming style ... yes, the director deserves to be credited ...

Two aspects ...
(a) Technically,
... it would wow some audience ...
... I particularly like the beginning half an hour or so ...
... I also like the ending credits with all the snow ...
(b) Emotionally,
... Prior to watching, I was wondering whether it would be like THE SEA INSIDE ... but not exactly ...
... THE SEA INSIDE has more narrative, but THIS FILM does not. In a way, I have to admit that the director has a rather challenging job because some audience may find it less engaging or engrossing ... Nonetheless, considering that it is a very simple story, the director has managed to captivate through various different means (a difficult feat indeed) ...

(ii) It was difficult, but the director succeeded in peppering the film with some sense of humor ...

(iii) Of course, the message of the film ...

Conclusion
Recommended.
hengcs
 


Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:10 am

Review:

The much vaunted "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" has an undeniably inventive and captivating visual style but its truest successes lie in the simple moments of genuine emotional clarity that Cannes winner and Golden Globe winning director, Julian Schnabel crafts within his flourishes. Based on the true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), the 43-year-old bon vivant editor of Elle France, who suffered a ruthless stroke that left him totally paralysed save for a single eye, is left veritably "locked-in", as the doctors tells him. Fully cognisant but with the barest of responses, Bauby learns to slowly and painfully communicate through blinks of his left eye. The title refers to the disparity of existence that his consciousness feels, his mind is liberated as a butterfly but his body threatens to tether and submerge him.

While the source material of the film (unread by me) takes on a meta quality late on in the proceedings, the film translates the experience of experiencing an experience to a whole other level of appreciation, an assault on our optical senses by presenting a significant portion of film from the subjective point of view of Bauby, every tinge of fear amplified by a needle closing in, the constant dependence and the creeping realisation of an inescapable nightmare. Then Schnabel and Ronald Harwood's screenplay wisely incorporates moments of reflection and memories from Bauby, releasing its aesthetics from the fringes of gimmickry by flashbacks and a surrealistic energy as ethereal as it is pulverising.

Jazzed up on the film's plaintive moods (most evidently in a brutal love triangle and the evanescence of fatherhood), the film is engrossingly devastating, but when Schnabel is in more calculating and blustering moods, the film can adversely turn on itself by becoming so precious and patently uninspiring. But the film's descent into an anonymous stirring tale is halted by its filmmaker's intensity towards elevating the material. With Harwood's narrative ellipses sharp as scalpels, Bauby becomes more than just a character; he becomes the person Schnabel can muse upon.

Amalric offers more panache to his role than he is offered back. We believe the inner snark, the wry narration that punctuates each new endeavour and each reevaluation of Bauby's life. Neither saint nor sinner, Bauby's actions that eventually led to his slender memoir of experiences told letter by letter with the help of a translator (Anne Consigny) and speech therapist (Marie-Josee Croze) are revealed to be an individual's strength and resilience personified.

Schnabel's idealistic dalliance with indulgence is tempered by Harwood's gentle script that allows a consistently affecting (though fleetingly cursory) narrative to flow between its satellite characters and Bauby becomes the film's sincerest ode to a remarkable story.
justindeimen
 

Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:59 am

Good reviews, hengcs and Justin. Looking forward to this one.
arsaib4
 

Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:01 am

Thanks arsaib, but to be honest I did expect more from it. But it must have been the hyperbole I was inundated with, what with people saying this was "CINEMA!" in its embodiment. Simple moments save this film from being a bit too exaggerated.
justindeimen
 

Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby hengcs » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:04 am

do those of you who have watched prefer THE DIVING BELL or THE SEA INSIDE ...

In terms of story telling, I vote for THE SEA INSIDE ...
In terms of the "skills" demanded of a director, I vote for THE DIVING BELL ...
hengcs
 

Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:29 am

THE SEA INSIDE?

Hmm, haven't seen it I don't think. Was a bad year for film-going for me. Must have seemed like a downer for me to have not even attempted to see it.
justindeimen
 

Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:03 pm

"This is Cinema" and "This is art" monikers do get thrown around quite a bit, especially as we near the end of a given year, and primarily by those "critics" who neither firmly grasp the historical perspective, regardless of what they have or haven't seen, nor do they have the foresight, which of course is intangible and can't be acquired. At times such practice is undertaken in order to bestow added importance to the work at hand (the Cahiers gang did that regularly, but they had both of the aforementioned qualities) without the realization that it could actually prevent the work from being properly evaluated in the future.
arsaib4
 

Re: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le papillon) (2007) (France)

Postby justindeimen » Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:11 pm

Excellent analysis, arsaib. Couldn't have put it better myself, especially your final statement. It's pretty unfortunate actually, that there's a real dearth of enlightened critics out there who actually are critical about films they review. I think there's too many of them who see themselves as a collective, never deviating from works that should be put into perspective. My main gripe about the film in question is that while its visually inventive enough, it really is a film that's less than the sum of its part and too many reviews I've read just seem to tow the line, and admittedly I was just a little tempted myself.
justindeimen
 


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