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Archived Movie Month Threads > Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed | 219 comments Mod
Our September movie of the month. It is out on dvd. I'm sorry...still have the August movie to see and I promise I will. Here is a link:

message 2: by Angie (new)

Angie Can't wait to watch!

message 3: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Should we say to have this movie watched by the 28th? Is that enough time for everyone?

message 4: by Angie (new)

Angie Yea I think we could just start discussing after we see it? Like we did with the August movie.

message 5: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Sep 09, 2008 02:41PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments In my queue waiting for the Blu-ray:)

message 6: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments I saw it in the folks are in for a treat.

message 7: by Ed (new)

Ed | 219 comments Mod
Sounds great. I'm all for discussing once you've seen it and if there's a big spoiler we can always note it.

message 8: by Liz (new)

Liz (busy91) I hope you guys like it. It is a well done film.

message 9: by Phillip (last edited Sep 11, 2008 12:23AM) (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments I saw it in the theater and I'm ready to discuss it whenever you've seen it and have the urge.

message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I can't wait to start!

message 11: by Ed (new)

Ed | 219 comments Mod
got it in my queue

message 12: by Rachel (new)

Rachel i just watched this movie last week or the week before. SOOOO good. can't wait to discuss. :)

message 13: by Angie (new)

Angie This is another hard to find movie! :( So I will be waiting for my copy, I did find one at the library but I am like #200!

message 14: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5484 comments Looking forward to discussing this one, I really enjoyed it. Fascinating and moving film. I was very surprised because I hadn't been expecting to like it as much as I did.

message 15: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I think this is an amazing film. I don't want to get too specific until people have seen it and are ready to start talking about it.

message 16: by Angie (last edited Sep 17, 2008 12:55PM) (new)

Angie I am about to check Blockbusters for it.. the first time I ever heard about it was on CBS Sunday Morning.. they no longer have the video up... but the have the report:

After watching this I really wanted to see the movie... so I am going to go to BBV and pay probably like $5.00! This movie seems worth it! I would say go ahead and start talking about it. This should be a thread where spoilers get posted since we are in the middle of September.

message 17: by Meg (last edited Sep 17, 2008 03:45PM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Angie, I just got an email to invite a friend to netflix for a month free, if you are interested. I know netflix has it.

Thanx for the link. It was a great write up and very favorable.

I am trying so hard not to give anything away.

message 18: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Rob move it to the top, it is definitely worth it.

message 19: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments my mom would have loved diving bell. she was a big movie fan. i saw countless films with her. mostly, i remember one summer in los angeles when there was a hitchcock retrospective - they showed every one of his films...we caught about 50 of them. what a gas.

hey, let's move on with this discussion! get your hands on this movie - i'm getting trigger happy over here.

message 20: by Angie (new)

Angie everyone should just start talking about it! I WILL get it before the end of September! So go for it!

message 21: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Netflix has mailed mine so hopefully this weekend. I really enjoyed Schnabel's BASQUIAT and his album. Any recording with Buckethead and Bill Laswell is OK with me! But this film has been a "must see" since it made the festival circuit. Can't wait!

message 22: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I was thinking we would start the discussion once Alex does one of his great reviews and then go from there. Does that sound ok with everyone? Poor Alex, it all rests on him!

message 23: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments My mom was kind of a nut...but a good kind of nut. We watched Eraserhead one night, and she said afterward, "I don't think I got that one". So we watched it again (I mean like, immediately...just pushed the tape back in the player and hit play), and I "analysed it" for her. She was really grateful. I don't know how many of my so-called *hip* friends would have been up for that.

I didn't love Basquiat, but I did love that the movie was made. I'm a fan of his work. If you want another really fine Schnabel film, check out Before Night Falls, a film that introduced Javier Bardem to a lot of Americans. It's a great movie, IMO.

And, I LOVE THIS GROUP! I wish we could all go to a movie together and then have a big party afterward and talk about the film we watched together. The BIG trouble would be selecting a film.

I can see a few dozen of us standing in front of the theater now, "no, not that one, THAT one!"


message 24: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Sep 19, 2008 10:00AM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I love Lynch's work but ERASERHEAD actually brough on a migraine! I tried watching it again and same thing, debilatating headache: I suffer from these very rarely, had MRIs and such, everything seems OK. But boy, this film really wipes me out!

DIVING BELL was just shipped today. Netflix likes to mail me discs from Seattle (I live in PA) to control the amount of rentals every month because I watch a lot of movies. I hope to have it early next week.

message 25: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5484 comments Alex, what wiped you out so about ERASERHEAD? I think it is still Lynch's best film.

message 26: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments It wasn't the content that brought on the migraine, but I think the soundtrack physically triggered something in my brain. I want to finish watching so hopefully someday I will be "properly medicated", so to speak. :)

message 27: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5484 comments I see, yeah. The sound effects in that film can be a bit hard to take. I like the film a great deal, I've settled on it as being Lynch's best and most characteristic film.

message 28: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Phillip, I could see us standing in line and deciding to watch everyone of them and then arguing over which one to talk about. What fun that would be.

message 29: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Tom, it doesn't help that I've got a 7.1 surround system that buzzsaws through my brain sometimes. But you've inspired me to give it another try! I'll just tone down the stereo mix a bit and maybe flip the subwoofer off and have a go. When I watched INLAND EMPIRE his use of very low bass vibrated my whole house: I actually had to flip the subwoofer to its minimum setting. But this low growl creates a very unsettling otherworldy atmosphere and I like its emotional impact.

message 30: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments meg: absolutely!

tom: agreed! eraserhead is lynch's defining film. i keep waiting for him to get back to his roots, you know what i'm sayin'??? i like most all of his films, but eraserhead holds a special place in my heart. i grew up in los angeles, and somehow it seems distinctly like an LA nightmare. and yet somehow i feel comforted by that nightmare.

tom/alex: what are you guys talking about with "the music" in eraserhead?

mostly all there is is that fats waller organ stuff, and the song the girl in the radiator sings. are you talking about the ambient industrial din? ...ok, i get that.

message 31: by Tom (last edited Sep 20, 2008 05:47AM) (new)

Tom | 5484 comments Alex, excellent! Let me know what you think. I assume you have the DVD, I can recommend following Lynch's directions for setting up your TV.

Philip, I'll be glad if Lynch just made a good movie. That INLAND EMPIRE thing, I mean really. He just seems to be going over and over the same stuff.

Yeah, I meant the ambient industrial hisses rumbles and roars, which basically function as a musical score. They can be a bit overwhelming if they are turned up too loud. The sound design in Lynch's best films are basically an extra character.

message 32: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Sep 21, 2008 03:04PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I just watched this film last night and loved it. I generally shy away from films based upon true stories because, well, as Michael Haneke says, "Film is 24 lies per second". These types of films stretch reality to the breaking point and attempt some uplifting moral by minimizing the true suffering. And they're usually "made-for-TV" dramas. Let me make myself perfectly clear, I'm not judging this film in that generic context! Julian Schnabel has created a great film, his masterpiece, and I was very surprised to see Mathieu Amalric who was exceptional. I just posted a review of KINGS AND QUEEN and he made that film really tick! I'm also not going to defend the alterations from the true story to create this film's structure: the truth and cinema are two independant mediums. I did a little research and it seems as if friends and family were not properly defined in the film, details were changed, and conflicts created to make an inetresting narrative. I'm only judging this as a work of art, "true" or not, I really enjoyed it and highly recommend. Here are a few of my thoughts:

THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (Julian Schnabel, 2007, France) Jean-Dominique Bauby is Locked-In to the thick heavy weight of inert flesh and bone, drowning, forever sinking, and unable to scream. Like Joe Bonham, the fictional victim in JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, his mind is fully intact and inspired but his body broken, unable to touch the world outside and communicate. He is tortured with frustration because understanding comes quickly; but he doesn’t choose to drown in sorrow or pity, to surrender to the murky depths that wait below. He not only chooses to live but he decides to write a book detailing this unjust ordeal; with the help of doctors and friends, he is able to communicate by blinking one eye. This slow process connects him to the world again, letter by agonizing letter, and he is able to attain self-expression. Director Julian Schnabel begins the film from Jean-Dominique’s perspective and through a blurred lens we see the world in extreme close-ups and fragments. Schnabel makes full use of surround sound. The doctors speak from the center channel while Jean-Dominique is answering from the rear speakers and this frisson creates an instant dreamlike sense of dread: He is only speaking in his mind. Schnabel structure’s the film in brief flashbacks and vignettes so we come to see Bauby as he was before the heart attack: a healthy, successful man with a family and everything to live for. The narrative redefines the human essence as more than a superficial mask we display to the world but the power of empathy, imagination, and hope that thrives inside, refusing to wither and die. Jean-Dominique relives moments of guilt and regret and comes to terms with his mistakes. He contrasts his suffering with his kidnapped friend, who existed in his own tiny prison, and his own father whose world continues to shrink and will soon reduce itself to the grave. Schnabel directs with a dramatic visual flare of colors and skewed angles and takes us outside the box (and body) of conventional filmmaking; he is able to make concrete reality seems abstract and surreal, and conversely give form to imagination and memory. A stunningly inspirational film that is as much about Jean-Dominique’s will to live and succeed as it is about the strength of love, family, and friendship. (A)

message 33: by Liz (new)

Liz (hissheep) Sadly, the version I got from my local library was in French - followed it for about 45 minutes thinking just maybe it would switch over, but NO ... and there were no subtitles. Very disappointing, since I read the book and was very much looking forward to the movie!

message 34: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments Dear Liz

Did you check out the DVD version? Usually DVD menus have a "subtitles" button on the main page, or sometimes located under languages or options.

You click on it, and then you get to choose which language the subtitles are this case, the (english) subtitle button may have been switched "off". If you still have the dvd around, give it another shot. I'd be shocked if your local library had a French edition without English subtitles...

message 35: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Phillip, are you ready to start discussing this movie?

message 36: by Phillip (last edited Sep 23, 2008 09:15AM) (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments Yeah, shall we talk about how amazing that opening sequence is, where the camera is establishing the POV of our hero?

Or shall we talk about how Schnabel insists that all the women in the film are extremely beautiful, as if a man could not possibly recover unless he was surrounded by women who incite desire.

I mean, really, is that what this movie is about? About the nearly severe longing to be vibrating on all cylinders with love? About missing that so much that the lust for life will not die? Is it, or would it be possible to want to live on even if you weren't rich or successful or even if you didn't have so much to lose?

Is that what Schnabel is saying?

Or is he saying the urge to communicate is one that we will fight for to the very end? That to maintain connection with others around us (in spite of whether or not they are extremely beautiful people) is something we need, like oxygen, to stay alive?

Yes Meg, I'm ready to discuss this movie.

As you can imagine, a little more sleep at night would be helpful.

message 37: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Wow Phillip, so many questions to answer, I am going to start with the first. The camera/POV. The opening sequence is one that commands you to pay attention from the first second of the movie. The camera, throughout the movie, is so compelling and unusual that I cannot believe there are people who have not seen the movie. It is a masterpiece just because of that. To be able to get in his mind and view the world through the camera that way is what genius is all about.

With that in mind, I kind of felt that because his world has turned up side down that the women were placed in the movie as beautiful because, honestly, if any one were in that position any human contact that would try to help him stay part of that world would be beautiful. Their mere existence in his world made them beautiful. I felt that was a subtle addition. Maybe I am reading something into that, but that is why it worked for me.

I agree with the connection of Johnny Got His Gun. In JGHG he couldn't communicate; in this movie he had people that wouldn't let him slip away.

It teaches us that in this world there are people, no matter how disabled, have the right to communicate and have a lot to communicate about. The public is not always cognizant of this, nor do they view the disabled this way, and dismiss them.

message 38: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments Why can't you show someone is beautiful when they reach out to others? You could do that without populating your movie with gorgeous women. I hated that about this film. Otherwise, I liked it a lot.

message 39: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Well we beautiful women have to have a place somewhere.............

I think you can show that people are inwardly beautiful. But this movie was so dark, that something had to be beautiful in contrast.

I really liked this movie as well. In fact, the more I think about it the more I liked it. Does that happen to you, liking a movie more and more when you discuss it?

message 40: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Meg-Yes! which often brings me back to a view a film again and again. Phillip, I noticed the exact same thing concerning the women cast in the film. On one hand, many of his friends would of course be beautiful models but every nurse and secretary was a knockout! Even the stranger who runs from the farmhouse when he has a stroke was gorgeous. I liked that Schnabel still portrayed Bauby as a man with lustful desires; his focus down a blouse, red wet lips, or slithering tongue was highly erotic. This frustratingly contrasted Bauby's impotence.

message 41: by Liz (new)

Liz (hissheep) Thanks, Phillip ...

I didn't notice any "subtitles" button, but I WILL try again, because I did read the book in preparation for the movie!

message 42: by Amy (new)

Amy | 58 comments RE the opening sequence - I definitely understood what the director was doing in establishing the point of view, but since I'm prone to migraines, it actually started getting to me! But it was such a relief when the camera switched and I started to be able to see other things, that it really drove home, more than any other technique could have done, how awful Bauby's condition was. The shifting technique, seguing from a "real" scene to something in Bauby's head and then back again, I found very integrated and sometimes dreamlike.

RE the women - I actually thought the women looked very real, although of course beautiful. In a high-profile American movie it seems like all the actresses might have been shellacked into high-gloss beauty, but these women were the refreshing (to me) European types, with freckles and lines on their skin. They were beautiful in a believable way, if that makes any sense - ? In any case, it didn't bother me.

A very poetic and meaningful film. Also makes me want to read the book...

message 43: by Phillip (last edited Sep 24, 2008 11:07AM) (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments Meg: let's be clear - I don't have a "problem" with beautiful women having a place in the world...I have a such a place right here in my apartment.

Amy - well put - the women are beautiful (damn!), but they are not the glossy, American version of beauty. And yeah, I'm interested in the text. I'd like to know more about this guy, which is a testament to the film.

There is a lot more to the film, obviously, than my measley concerns about populating your movie with beautiful women. And Alex's claim on counterpointing Bauby's impotence is clearly heightened by this. Since the film is largely told from his perspective, the longing he feels is increased greatly in this respect.

What about the ingenuity of the language system? That interests me a lot. This construct where a deeply personal connection is formed balances the isolation the character experiences nicely.

This aspect reminded me of Beckett in a way - a character that has lost all forms of communication and sense of self strives to *go on* and somehow discovers a way to tell his story against all odds.

message 44: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Damn, gotta read me some Beckett!

message 45: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments First Phillip, is that an invitation???

Joking aside, the way you are talking about Beckett reminds me of Helen Keller where she was taught ways to communicate with society/family and there was so much to tell. There are many characters in film, theatre and literature faced with this in one form or another.

We all have the choice to isolate or connect facing obstacles along the way. Some have more obstacles than others. But, the need to communicate/connect is innate in us all don't you think?

message 46: by Phillip (last edited Sep 24, 2008 11:11AM) (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments meg, come out to california and find out!

and yes, communication is the nourishing bloodflow of the intellect. we cannot live without it. or, rather, most of us cannot live without it. i realize there are quite a few people walking the planet that have taken a vow of silence. but i imagine they read and do other things to access information.

alex, check out the postwar trilogy...(malloy - malone dies - the unnameable)...the last book in particular is what i'm thinking about (along with the play "happy days" and one of the late fragments entitled "company").

the unnameable is the last remnants of the voices that appear in the first two books. some interpret the unnameable as being the remains of malone (after he dies in the second book). other interpretations hypothesize that the unnameable is a pile of human remains, abondoned in a waste bin outside a pub (this is the more popular interpretation)...either way, it is one of the most unusual and astonding narratives that i can think of.

i know it sounds like a ridiculous cliche, but those books changed my life. sometimes books come to us at just the right moment in our journey.

message 47: by Tom (last edited Sep 26, 2008 07:19AM) (new)

Tom | 5484 comments I haven't had a chance to revisit DIVING BELL, but I remember liking it very much when I saw it. I was surprised, as I'd not liked Schnabel's BEFORE NIGHT FALLS at all, except for Johnny Depp's cameo as Bonbon.

DIVING BELL was moving and disturbing, in the best ways. Just uniformly excellent from beginning to end, it managed to avoid the usual cliches of the "handicapped person finds salvation" movie of the week kind of film.

I wish I could go into more detail, but I won't be able to revisit the movie anytime soon, I'm a little backed up cinema and DVD wise.

message 48: by BumbleBrie (last edited Sep 29, 2008 12:38PM) (new)

BumbleBrie Bourn (blktoast) | 13 comments I go to a program for people that have had brain injuries (from accidents, strokes, brain cancer, etc.). Our book group, Easy Readers, read that book and saw the movie. What an amazing movie! My only quibble with it was that the sewing of his eye shut was visible to him, but there's no way that would have happened! But never-the-less, it's great movie. Not as good as the book, but that's very common!

message 49: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I thought that part was so gross and inhumane. I am glad you said that it would never happen. ewwwww

message 50: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Sep 30, 2008 07:01PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Powerful scene, I believe Schnabel wants us the audience to feel the fear and pain of the character, stitch by stitch: he couldn't do that by just showing a screen go suddenly dark. But watch the scene again, I'm no photographer but Scnabel either pulls focus slightly or he changed the camera lens, because there is a slight distortion to the image when he cuts to sight again, representing his mono vision, his newly altered view of the world.

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