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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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On December 8 1995 at 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby, inventive and charismatic editor in chief of the French magazine Elle suffered a massive stroke and his brain stem was rendered inactive, his life was changed forever. After lapsing into a coma, he awoke 20 days later to find himself the victim of locked-in syndrome - mentally alert but a prisoner inside his own body, his only means of communicating with the outside world the blinking of his left eye.

Forced to adjust to this unique perspective, Bauby created a new rich world for looking into himself to find the only two things that weren't paralyzed, his imagination and his memory. At The Maritime Hospital in Berck-Sur-Mer, in Nord Pas de Calais France he was taught an alphabet, a code in the order of the most frequently used letters in the French alphabet. Letter by letter, painstakingly words, sentences and paragraphs tell the story of a profound adventure into the human psyche and into the battle between life and death. This alphabet unlocked the prison of Jean-Dominique's body which he called his Diving Bell and travelled the borderless regions of freedom that he called The Butterfly.

Directed by

Julian Schnabel

Written by

Ronald Harwood


Mathieu Amalric
Emmanuelle Seigner
Marie-Josée Croze

Year: 2008 Genre: Drama, Biopic Length: 112 mins

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