The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Movie Information

In Brief: Julian Schnabel’s third film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2008), continues his apparent fixation with artists who died in their prime. His first films, Basquiat (1996) and Before Night Falls (2000), were about the graffiti artist-turned-neo-expressionist painter Jean Michel Basquiat (dead of a drug overdose at the age of 27) and Cuban poet and writer Reinaldo Arenas (suffering from AIDS, Arenas committed suicide at age 46). Here Schnabel, with the considerable help of screenwriter Ronald Harwood (Being Julia), has adapted the autobiographical work of Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby to film. And while Bauby might be the least important of Schnabel’s trio in terms of his own artistic accomplishment, there’s little question that the film is the most successful of Schnabel’s encounters with cinema to date. None of this is to indicate that Diving Bell is anything like a perfect film. It is, however, a frequently compelling and powerful work that finally becomes a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit — albeit blessedly not of the sweeping-crane-shot and swell-of-lachrymose-music variety. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke published on Jan. 23, 2008.
Genre: Biographical Drama
Director: Julian Schnabel
Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny, Max von Sydow
Rated: PG-13

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on Friday, Aug. 24, at the new Flood Gallery location in Black Mountain, 850 Blue Ridge Road, Unit A-13, Black Mountain.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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