Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

As the deluge rain came down last night Ted and I had a steak and saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on pay-per-view. Beautiful movie, in French with English sub-titles. It was in the theaters about six months ago but going to the movies now can be a trial.

This movie is directed by Julian Schnabel, the artist, who also directed Before Night Falls, another very interesting movie. You know that Schnabel is a world class artist but he is also very talented in many other ways. He decorated the lobby of the Grammercy Hotel, which is extremely striking. In Greenwich Village, on top of the building he owns, he built a gigantic pink Venetian palazzo. It's controversial, because it's pink, but I think it's amazing looking and quite brilliant, and certainly more interesting than the glass boxes rising up all over town which already look dated to me. But I read he's having trouble selling the real estate within his palazzo.

And he's a movie director. As you would expect, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is out there, artistic, not your average night at the movies. It is based on the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was the editor of Elle magazine and suffered a traumatic stroke which left him completely paralyzed accept for his left eye. He could not move, he could not talk. He could only communicate by blinking his left eye. And with the help of a translator, he writes a book, his memoir, by blinking out one letter at a time.

Quite an amazing story. And very artfully told by Mr. Schnabel. The man who plays Bauby is great; he literally acts with one eye. Every time you think you have troubles, think of Jean-Dominique Bauby.

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