Le Scaphandre et le papillon
(The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Directed by Julian Schnabel
France and USA, 2007
In French with English subtitles
Watching this from the front row of the Coolidge Corner Theatre's 45-seat video screening room a few weeks back probably wasn't the ideal way to take in the thing, but boy did it heighten the film's sense of claustrophobia...biography of former Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby's journey from speechless stroke victim to best-selling memoirist--painfully "dictating" sentences with a blink of the eye whenever his assistant lands on the appropriate letter of the alphabet--alternates the suffocating point of view of a man literally trapped in his own body with gorgeous visuals suggesting the victory of imagination over physical decrepitude...not sure how this emotionally murky memento mori will transfer to DVD, but for now this is one art house smash that deserves all its downer accolades.