The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
- By: Aula Abbara, Huda Al-Hadithy
Julian Shnabel's adaptation of Jean-Dominque Bauby's autobiography should be compulsory viewing for everyone interested in medicine. The film depicts the moving transition of Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) from high powered editor of French Elle magazine to his rehabilitation when he develops locked-in syndrome after a stroke at the age of 43.
The cinematography is masterly and forces the viewer to empathise with Bauby's condition. As the film unfolds we feel the emotions that Bauby feels, learning of the frustration, depression, determination, and helplessness that being a prisoner of the body instils. Schnabel makes us ponder what it is like to be trapped in a body with no control over the surroundings, whether locked in or with another physical affliction that leaves you at the mercy of others.
Despite all that he has been through, Bauby's mental agility and sense of humour are intact, making the audience laugh at unpredictable times. We