Last Friday I got to watch an amazing work of art entitled The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. It is the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the 43 year old french journalist who suffered a stroke in 1995. After suffering a stroke he was left with only a little movement in his head and left eye. He wrote his memoir one letter at a time. A transcriptionist would work her way through the alphabet until she got to the letter he wanted and he would blink his eye. It took over 200,000 blinks to write the book and two minutes per word. Julian Schnabel directed this masterpiece and I can’t sing his praises enough. I won’t use the word masterpiece very often, but this is a film that makes you feel alive and really consider life and death. The film is spoken in French with English subtitles.
The point-of-view camera style that this film is shot in really pushes you into the mind of a person whose mind in still there, but whose body is shutting down. I don’t think I have seen a film that has affected me this much since college. It is beautiful and engrossing. You are reminded of the fragility of life and at the same time challenged to do more with the life you have without making excuses. Bauby wrote his book with only one eye. What did you accomplish today? This is the part on Family Guy where Stewie makes fun of Brian, but instead let me ask you, “How’s that book coming along. You still working on your character? Got the plot together? Friends becoming enemies? Enemies becoming friends? Hmmm. Didn’t think do.”
Get in the game today folks. You are not guaranteed tomorrow.