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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

“Le scaphandre et le papillon”.

Biography, Drama |

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a French biographical drama film directed by Julian Schnabel and written by Ronald Harwood. Based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s 1997 memoir of the same name, the film depicts Bauby’s life after suffering a massive stroke that left him with a condition known as locked-in syndrome. Bauby is played by Mathieu Amalric.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the César Awards, and received four Oscar nominations. Several critics later listed it as one of the best films of its decade. It ranks in BBC’s 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.

The first third of the film is told from the main character’s, Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), or Jean-Do as his friends call him, first person perspective. The film opens as Bauby wakes from his three-week coma in a hospital in Berck-sur-Mer, France. After an initial rather over-optimistic analysis from one doctor, a neurologist explains that he has locked-in syndrome, an extremely rare condition in which the patient is almost completely physically paralyzed, but remains mentally normal. At first, the viewer primarily hears Bauby’s “thoughts” (he thinks that he is speaking but no one hears him), which are inaccessible to the other characters (who are seen through his one functioning eye).

A speech therapist and physical therapist try to help Bauby become as functional as possible. Bauby cannot speak, but he develops a system of communication with his speech and language therapist by blinking his left eye as she reads a list of letters to laboriously spell out his messages, letter by letter.

Director: Julian Schnabel

Writers: Ronald Harwood (screenplay), Jean-Dominique Bauby (book)

Stars: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Patrick Chesnais, Niels Arestrup, Olatz López Garmendia


Mathieu AmalricJean-Do
Emmanuelle SeignerCéline
Marie-Josée CrozeHenriette Roi
Anne ConsignyClaude
Patrick ChesnaisLe Docteur Lepage
Niels ArestrupRoussin
Olatz López GarmendiaMarie Lopez
Jean-Pierre CasselPère Lucien et le Vendeur
Marina HandsJoséphine
Max von SydowPapinou
Gérard WatkinsLe Docteur Cocheton
Théo SampaioThéophile
Fiorella CampanellaCéleste
Talina BoyaciHortense
Isaach De BankoléLaurent
Emma de CaunesL’Impératrice Eugénie
Jean-Philippe ÉcoffeyLe Docteur Mercier et Nortier de Villefort
Nicolas Le RicheNijinski
Anne AlvaroBetty
Françoise LebrunMadame Bauby
Zinedine SoualemJoubert
Georges RocheFourneau
Agathe de La FontaineInès
Yves-Marie CoppinLe pêcheur
François DelaiveL’infirmier
Franck VictorPaul
Laure de Clermont-TonnerreDiane (as Laure de Clermont)
Virginie DelmotteL’infirmière
Daniel LapostolleAide-soignant 1
Philippe RouxAide-soignant 2
François FillouxL’infirmier de nuit
Elvis PolanskiJean-Do enfant
Cedric Brelet von SydowPapinou jeune
Sara SéguélaLa paraplégique Lourdes
Vasile NegruLe Violoniste
Marie MeyerMannequin
Ilze BajareMannequin
Anna ChyzhMannequin
Antoine BréantAssistant Jean-Baptiste Mondino
Azzedine AlaïaSelf
Michael WincottFashion Photographer
Jean-Baptiste MondinoSelf
Lenny KravitzSelf
Farida KhelfaSelf

Sources: imdb & wikipedia

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