The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The idea of point of view comes up frequently in this class. How is this depicted in different kinds of media? Here’s a good example, the film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly which was directed by the painter Julian Schnabel.

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is a film about a man who experiences the catastrophe I most feared during my recent surgeries: “locked-in syndrome,” where he is alive and conscious but unable to communicate with the world. My dread, I think, began when I was a boy first reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial” at an age much too young to contemplate such a possibility. At least the man in the film can see and hear; the hero of Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun” is completely locked inside his mind.

The film is based on a real man, and the book he astonishingly succeeded in writing although he could blink only his left eye. The man was Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who was the editor of Elle, the French fashion magazine, when he had his paralyzing stroke. A speech therapist (Marie-Josee Croze) suggests a system of communication: They will arrange the alphabet in the order of most frequently used letters, and he will choose a letter by blinking. By this method, word by word, blink by blink, he dictated his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, published in 1997, shortly before he died.

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-diving-bell-and-the-butterfly-2007

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