Friday, December 07, 2007

Of Diving Bells and Butterflies

When you're as famous as Julian Schnabel you get to show up at Cannes wearing your pajamas. From the director of Basquiat and Before Night Falls we now get The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I'm looking forward to seeing the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, an editor of French "Elle" who was almost completely paralyzed after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 43. Despite his condition, referred to as locked-in syndrome, Bauby eventually learned to communicate by blinking his left eyelid. He dictated his memoirs to his assistant based on an elaborate alphabet communicated by blinking his eye.

If Bell is as good as Basquiat and Before Night Falls it will be imminently watchable. Schnabel treats the silver screen like a big canvas and uses big swashes of color and dreamlike sequences to illustrate the lives of his characters. There's usually just the right mix of ingredients in Schnabel's surrealist cocktails.

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