Saturday, January 26, 2008

Le Scaphandre et le papillon

Perhonen lasikuvussa / Fjärilen i glaskupan. FR/US (c) 2007 Pathé / France 3 Cinéma / CRRAV. D: Julian Schnabel. SC: Ronald Harwood - based on the book by Jean-Dominique Bauby (1997). DP: Janusz Kaminski - 35mm negative - digital intermediate - 35 mm print 1:1,85. AD: Laurent Ott, Michel Eric. Songs include "La Mer" by Charles Trenet, "All The World Is Green" and "Green Grass" by Tom Waits. Starring: Mathieu Amalric (Jean-Dominique Bauby), Emmanuelle Seigner (Céline Desmoulin), Marie-Josée Croze (Henriette Roi), Anne Consigny (Claude), Max von Sydow (Papinou, the father). Released in Finland by Scanbox, Finnish /Swedish subtitles by Jaana Wiik /Saliven Gustavson. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 7, Helsinki, 26 Jan 2008. The true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of Elle, who was paralyzed in a locked-in syndrome and could only move one eye. He devoted the rest of his life to writing a book. This belongs to the small but memorable group of "films with impossible protagonists" such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Breakdown, Johnny Got His Gun, The Singing Detective, Mar adentro, My Left Foot, and A Brief History of Time, and it has also affinities with other extreme experiments of subjective camera (Lady in the Lake) and brings to mind images of Christopher Reeve and the situation in Reversal of Fortune (Sunny von Bülow in coma since 1980, apparently still in 2008). As in Hitchcock and Amenábar, this is a challenge to the film-maker, solved by Schnabel by interior monologue, subjective camera and strong imagery. The rhythm of the eyelids (one bat = yes, two bats = no) gives a peculiar tempo to the film.

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