The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, 2007, 112 min.
Faced with a harrowing predicament, Jean-Do will use enormous courage and determination but, most of all, his soaring imagination to escape from his trap. Tapping into the limitlessness of his memories, fantasies, wit and wishes, he finds a way to race through experiences of wonder and grief, sex and love, fatherhood and childhood, faith and questioning, ecstasy and absurdity – and touches the very essence of what it is to be human. Along the way he is buoyed by a quintet of remarkable women: Céline (Emmanuelle Seigner), the mother of his children who remains devoted to him despite his betrayal; Inés (Agathe de la Fontaine), the girlfriend who still haunts him; Henriette (Marie-Josée Croze) and Marie (Olatz Lopez Garamendia), who give Jean-Do the power to re-connect with the world and his loved ones; and Claude (Anne Consigny), who becomes his ravishing literary assistant. Legendary screen star and Oscar® nominee Max Von Sydow takes the moving role of Jean-Do’s father. The cast of leading French stars also includes Patrick Chesnais, Niels Arestrup, the late Jean-Pierre Cassel and Marina Hands.
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” is directed by Julian Schnabel, who garnered the Director’s Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for the film, and is written by Academy Award® winner Ronald Harwood (“The Pianist”), based on the internationally acclaimed memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby. The producers are Kathleen Kennedy and Jon Kilik and the executive producers are Pierre Grunstein and Jim Lemley.
Shot entirely on location in France, Jean-Do’s extraordinary, dream-like world, a world seen literally through the blink of an eye, is brought to life by an artistic team that includes two-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Munich”), production designers Laurent Ott and Michel Eric, costume designer Olivier Beriot and composer Paul Cantelon, whose score is woven into a soundtrack compiled by Schnabel with tracks from artists including Tom Waits, U2, Lou Reed and Joe Strummer, as well as samples of classic movie scores.