The sky this morning is a crisp blue, not a cloud in sight. But for the past few days I've been nursing a nasty cold and feeling miserable. To put my situation in perspective, I decided last night to watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on DVD. As I hoped, director Julian Schnabel's portrayal of former French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was left paralyzed after a massive stroke at age 42, left me in awe.
About the film, NY Times movie critic A.O. Scott writes:
Diving Bell is the third feature directed by Julian Schnabel, and its visual dynamism can surely be traced to his first career, as a painter. But the sensory abundance of its sounds and pictures is also a response to the movie’s subject, which is sensory deprivation. Its protagonist, played by Mathieu Amalric, is a high-living, womanizing magazine editor paralyzed by a stroke and able to engage the world only through his left eye.
Blinking is his only means of communication, and the film’s plot essentially involves the composition of the memoir on which it is based, with excursions into its hero’s earlier life and loves. But the true brilliance of “The Diving Bell” resides in how thoroughly Mr. Schnabel dispenses with conventional narrative structure without sacrificing clarity, emotion or pleasure. Rarely has a film about an appalling, tragic circumstance been so thoroughly and convincingly charged with joy.
In the face of Bauby's refusal to succumb to despair, how can I, sniffles and all, not be thankful for the sunshine?