AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Alternate Title: Le scaphandre et le papillon
Director: Julian Schnabel (Dir)
Release Date:   30 Nov 2007
Premiere Information:   Cannes Film Festival screening: 22 May 2007; Toronto International Film Festival screening: 11 Sep 2007; AFI Fest: 8 Nov 2007
Production Date:   in France
Duration (in mins):   112 or 114
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Cast:   Mathieu Amalric (Jean-Do[minique Bauby])  
    Emmanuelle Seigner (Céline)  
    Marie-Josée Croze (Henriette Roi)  
    Anne Consigny (Claude)  
    Patrick Chesnais (Doctor Lepage)  
    Niels Arestrup ([Pierre] Roussin)  
    Olatz Lopez Garmendia (Marie Lopez)  
    Jean-Pierre Cassel (Father Lucien and shopkeeper)  
    Marina Hands (Joséphine)  
    Max von Sydow (Papinou)  
    Gerard Watkins (Doctor Cocheton)  
    Theo Sampaio (Théophile)  
    Fiorella Campanella (Céleste)  
    Talina Boyaci (Hortense)  
    Isaach de Bankole (Laurent)  
    Emma de Caunes (Empress Eugénie)  
    Jean-Philippe Ecoffey (Doctor Mercier/Noirtier de Villefort)  
    Nicholas Le Riche (Nijinski, principal dancer at the Opéra de Paris)  
    Anne Alvaro (Betty)  
    Françoise Lebrun (Madame Bauby)  
    Zinedine Soualem (Joubert)  
    Georges Roche (Fourneau)  
    Agathe de la Fontaine (Inès)  
    Yves-Marie Coppin (The fisherman)  
    François Delaive (The male nurse)  
    Franck Victor (Paul)  
    Laure de Clermont (Diane)  
    Virginie Delmotte (The female nurse)  
    Daniel Lapostolle (Nursing auxiliary 1)  
    Philippe Roux (Nursing auxiliary 2)  
    Francis Filloux (Male night nurse)  
    Elvis Polanski (Young Jean-Do)  
    Cedric Brelet von Sydow (Young Papinou)  
    Sara Seguela (Paraplegic Lourdes)  
    Vasile Negru (The violinist)  
    Marie Meyer (Model)  
    Ilze Bajare (Model)  
    Anna Chyzh (Model)  
    Antoine Breant (Assistant to Jean-Baptiste Mondino)  
    Azzedine Alaïa    
    Michael Wincott    
    Jean-Baptiste Mondino    
    Lenny Kravitz    
    Farida Khelfa    

Summary: After suffering a massive stroke, 43-year-old bon vivant Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby wakes up from a three-week coma to discover that he can neither speak nor move. Entirely paralyzed except for his eyes, an alert Jean-Do is panicked by feelings of claustrophobia. At the Berck-sur-Mer hospital in the French countryside, Jean-Do learns from his doctors that he has locked-in syndrome, a rare condition with little chance of recovery. Completely unable to communicate, Jean-Do is at the mercy of the doctors and their vague promises of rehabilitation. To add to his despair, his right tear duct closes, necessitating that the eye be sewn shut to prevent infection. He watches as the surgeon stitches his eyelid, entombing him even further in his lifeless body and prompting him to imagine being trapped in a diving bell sinking in the sea. Soon Jean-Do is assigned a devoted and beautiful young speech therapist named Henriette Roi, who tells him that he is her most important patient. They begin his first communications by simply blinking once for yes and twice for no. With no way truly to engage in the present, Jean-Do floats in and out of his memories, including Elle photography sessions with lithe models. One day, the doctors announce that he is “good for a wheelchair.” Far from being grateful, Jean-Do laments his verdict as a complete invalid and is horrified to see the reflection of his once-handsome face when he passes mirrors in the hallway. Not only is his body gaunt from weeks of being fed through a tube, his remaining working eye is bulging wide open and his mouth is contorted to the left. One day, a doctor brings Céline, whom they understand to be Jean-Do’s wife, to his hospital room. Unable to correct them, Jean-Do notes to himself that she is merely the mother of his children, a woman he recently left after years of living together. The deeply religious Céline prays for his recovery and offers to bring his children to visit, but Jean-Do refuses. After she leaves, Jean-Do imagines Céline standing alone grieving for him at the Berck train station. Across the platform he sees himself as a young boy waiting with his father. Touched by the images, Jean-Do quietly regrets his previously self-indulgent life and his poor treatment of Céline and the children. He is still consumed with self-pity when Henriette proposes a system for Jean-Do to express words and sentences. While she recites the alphabet in order of which letters are most used, Jean Do is to blink at the letter he wants, thus spelling out his thoughts one letter at a time. Henriette’s heart-felt earnestness prompts Jean-Do’s ridicule. Meanwhile, the nursing staff diligently bathes, exercises and clothes Jean-Do, making him feel like a helpless infant. Strapped to an upright board, Jean-Do is asked to practice moving his tongue in hopes of regaining the ability to swallow and eat. While nurses enthusiastically claim that they see movement, Jean-Do knows there has been none. On another day, acquaintance Pierre Roussin, who was held hostage in Beirut for four years, recounts his feelings of isolation, suicidal thoughts and claustrophobia to the mute man. He reminds Jean-Do that he must cling to his humanity if he is to survive the isolation. Jean-Do is consumed with shame, because, as a favor, he gave Pierre his own air ticket on the doomed flight on which Pierre was captured and chose never to call Pierre after his release. During the day, Henriette tries to engage Jean-Do with her alphabet technique, but he will only spell out “I want death.” When friend and regular visitor Laurent tells him that rumors are spreading that he is a vegetable, Jean-Do, unable to communicate with anyone besides Henriette, jokingly asks himself which kind, a carrot or a pickle. Although Jean-Do’s wry wit is returning, the lack of control of the hospital conditions is maddening. To escape the constancy of banal television and his own limitations, Jean-Do returns to his imagination: floating through fields as a butterfly, making love to beautiful women and living out boyhood fantasies of surfing and skiing. As he becomes more thoughtful, Jean-Do concludes that his life is a series of “near misses,” of never committing to the love that was before him. Developing his technique with Henriette and losing his self-pity, Jean-Do becomes more adept and confident about communicating. He contacts a publisher with whom he has had a book contract. She is at first unbelieving as Henriette tries to explain to her that Jean-Do would like to write a memoir, but finally relents and sends him young protégé Claude to take dictation. Memorizing what he wants to write each morning, Jean-Do begins his memoir, dictating letter by letter to Claude. Included in his thoughts are fantasies about the hospital’s patron, Empress Eugénie, a beautiful young woman featured in a marble bust in the hospital. He imagines a sensuous woman, her voluminous skirts swaying down the hall as she helps the hospital’s first patients, children with tuberculosis. One day, after remembering tenderly shaving his father Papinou upon his last visit to the elderly man, Jean-Do realizes that even in his “fragmented” condition, his presence as a father in his children’s lives is better than nothing. Days later on the beach with his three young children and Céline, Jean-Do plays the child’s game of hangman with them using his alphabet communication and grieves that he is unable to caress his children. As he grows more accustomed to communicating complete thoughts with Claude, she enters his fantasy life, a woman whom he romances with sumptuous meals of seafood and wine. Back in the hospital, Jean-Do, dreading the loneliness of low-staffed Sundays, accepts nurse Marie Lopez’ offer to take him to church. While he imagines multiple deities to whom he prays for health, Marie, despite Jean-Do’s blinks saying “no,” tells Father Lucien that Jean-Do agrees to take communion. As the priest asks God for the restoration of his health, Jean-Do remembers one of his many lovers: She insists that they make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, where he breaks up with her because of her obsession with an electric Madonna that blinks and watches over them as they have sex. Back at the hospital, Jean-Do arranges through Claude to speak to Papinou, who is confined to his apartment because of failing health. Unable to tolerate or comprehend the word-by-word replies given by Claude, Jean-Do’s father stutters to find his own words. He laments that they are in similar circumstances, “locked in” to their own small worlds, then tells his son the location of a letter containing his last wishes and tearfully bids him farewell, while Jean-Do cries as well. Claude, having taken down Jean-Do’s most intimate feelings and memories, grows enamored with him and professes her love on a boat trip she arranges for the two of them, presenting him with The Count of Monte Cristo , the book he most wanted to emulate in his initial plans to write a novel. Days later, Inès, Jean-Do’s lover at the time of his stroke, calls while Céline is tending to him. Inès asks Céline to leave the room and then, in private, begs his forgiveness for not being able to see him in his condition. Céline returns to the room just in time to be forced to translate letter by letter his reply, “Each day I wait for you.” As he nears the end of writing the memoir, Jean-Do’s dream-life expands. He imagines that his heartbeat is the beating of butterfly wings. Just as he finds some hope of regaining his voice by grunting and humming songs, he contracts pneumonia. Those closest to him gather around to encourage him, including Céline, Laurent and Claude, who reads the dedication in his newly published memoir, but the author dies just ten days after the memoir is published. 

Production Company: France 3 Cinema  
  CRRAV Nord-Pas of Calais  
  Région Nord-Pas of Calais  
  CANAL+ (Canal+ Group)
  Cinecinema  
  Banque Populaire Images 7  
  Kennedy/Marshall Company  
Production Text: A film by Julian Schnabel
Distribution Company: Miramax Film Corp.  
  Pathé Renn Production  
Director: Julian Schnabel (Dir)
  Stéphane Gluck (1st asst dir)
  Mathilde Cavillan (2d asst dir)
  Lucie Wagner (Asst dir trainee)
  Sébastien Marziniak (Asst dir trainee)
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy (Prod)
  Jon Kilik (Prod)
  Pierre Grunstein (Exec prod)
  Jim Lemley (Exec prod)
  Léonard Glowinski (Assoc prod)
  François-Xavier Decraene (Line prod)
Writer: Ronald Harwood (Scr)
Photography: Janusz Kaminski (Dir of photog)
  Berto (Cam op)
  Olivier Fortin (1st asst cam)
  Steeven Petiteville (1st asst cam)
  Benoit Pain (2d asst cam)
  Adrien Debackere (2d asst cam)
  Jörg Widmer (Steadicam op)
  Vincent Tulasne (Video assist op)
  Roland Savoye (Underwater cam op)
  Pascal Morisset (Asst [Underwater cam op])
  Michel Revest (Asst [Underwater cam op])
  Etienne George (Stills photog)
  Antonin Gendre (Key grip)
  Damien Auriol (Grip)
  Pascal Delaunay (Grip)
  François-Xavier Walter (Grip)
  Geoffroy Hassoun (Grip)
  Jan Gagnaire (Grip)
  Alexandre Ricco (Grip)
  Yann Crelot (Grip)
  Germain Garziano (Grip trainee)
  Mikael Monod (Gaffer)
  Damien Jousselin (Elec)
  Jérôme Baudoin (Elec)
  Alexandre Gotkovski (Elec)
  Ludovic Petit (Elec)
  François Amadei (Elec)
  Sébastien Courtain (Elec)
  Bernard Caroff (Gen op)
  David Caroff (Gen op)
  Claudy Gibier (Gen op)
  Joël Delclos (Projectionist)
  Scanlab (Dailies)
  Gilles Granier (Dailies grader, Scanlab)
  Nadia Atout (Dailies planning, Scanlab)
  Key Grip Systems (Grip rental house)
  The Steadimakers (Grip rental house)
  Transpalux (Lighting rental house)
  Didier Diaz (Lighting rental house)
  Next Shot (Video equipment)
  Real to Reel (Video equipment)
  Central Color (Photog laboratory)
  Cine Cascade (Cam car)
  Cinemarine (Underwater cam equipment)
  Tech Off Shore (Underwater cam equipment)
  Patrick Bonzom (Underwater cam equipment, Tech Off Shore)
  Yves-Alexandre Brognié (Underwater cam equipment, Tech Off Shore)
Art Direction: Michel Eric (Prod des)
  Laurent Ott (Prod des)
Film Editor: Juliette Welfling (Film ed)
  Margot Meynier (Key asst ed)
  Marie-Pierre Frappier (Asst picture ed)
  Marcela Figueroa (Asst picture ed)
  Carlos Pinto (Asst picture ed)
  Nelly Ollivault (Asst picture ed)
  AVID Adrénaline - DDS (Picture editing equipment)
  Studios Joinville/Boulogne (Editing)
Set Decoration: Alain Pitrel (Set dresser)
  Jean-Noël Vincensini (Set dec)
  Julien Durguel (Set dec)
  Stéphanie Noël (Set dec)
  Christian Gazio (Prop master)
  Aude Bassisty (Trainee set des)
  Nicolas Pitrel (Trainee set des)
  Samuel Bordet (Swing gang)
  Cédric Mazeratti (Swing gang)
  Julien Grisot (Swing gang)
  Jérôme Poirier (Swing gang)
  Nicolas Christin (Swing gang)
  Patrick Widdrington (Const coord)
  Christophe Lemoine (Carpenter)
  Philippe Delmas (Carpenter)
  Pierre Videix (Carpenter)
  Nicolas Faure (Carpenter)
  Thierry Girard (Carpenter)
  Franck Gies (Carpenter)
  Fabien Lewartowski (Carpenter)
  Philippe Boutillier (Key sculptor)
  Jean-François Juvanon (Head painter)
  Christine Huet-Gigandet (Painter)
  Eddie Guittard (Painter)
  Peter Hammond (Painter)
  Jacques Fresnel (Painter)
  Laurence Gabillon (Painter)
  Michel Malbesin (Painter)
  Laurent Stianti (Painter)
  Jacques Kazandjian (Draper)
Costumes: Olivier Beriot (Cost des)
  Camille Janbon (Asst cost des)
  Daniella Telle (Cost supv)
  Camille Joste (Cost supv)
  Alexia Crisp-Jones (On set dresser)
  Lucie Lefebvre (On set dresser)
  Sylvie Neant (On set dresser)
Music: Paul Cantelon (Orig mus)
  Julian Schnabel (Mus supv)
  Christian Chevalier (Mus rights clearance)
  Sue Jacobs (Mus rights clearance, NY)
Sound: Jean-Paul Mugel (Sd)
  Francis Wargnier (Sd)
  Dominique Gaborieau (Sd)
  Yves-Marie Omnes (Boom op)
  Boris Chapelle (Asst sd ed)
  Cyrille Richard (Dial ed)
  Damien Lazzerini (Asst mixer)
  Philippe Penot (Foley)
  Vincent Milner (Asst Foley)
  Frédérique Liebaut (ADR supv, Alter Ego)
  Yann Lebrun (ADR eng)
  Cine Stereo (Optical transfer - rerecording)
  Lionel Le Bras (Boom op mixing studio)
  Jean-Louis Le Bras (Boom op mixing studio)
  Philippe Donge (Sound Technicians Studios, Boulogne)
  Benjamin Leloch (Sound Technicians Studios, Boulogne)
  Yannick Boulot (Sound Technicians Studios, Boulogne)
  Rodolphe Duhamel (Sound Technicians Studios, Boulogne)
  Toni di Rocco (Sound Technicians Studios, Boulogne)
  Polyson (Sd editing equipment)
  Studios Joinville/Boulogne (Rec studios)
Special Effects: Georges Demetreau (Spec eff supv)
  Jérôme Miel (Spec eff supv)
  Philippe Alleton (Spec eff supv)
  Jean-Claude Dauphinot (Spec eff supv)
  Béatrice Bellone (Title des)
  Anne Maisonhaute ([Title] editing)
  Éclair VFX (Spec eff)
  Malika Mazauric (VFX supv)
  Yann Blondel (VFX supv)
  Laurence Vidot (VFX coord)
  Aurélie Villard (2D anim)
  Claire Cunier (2D anim)
  Mélodie Stevens (2D anim)
  Anita Lech Bedez (2D anim)
  Jacques Delzescaux (2D anim)
  Emmanuel Chex (2D anim)
  Arnaud Damez (2D anim)
  Thierry Noblet (3D anim)
  Adrien Borzakian (3D anim)
  Guillaume Chevet (3D anim)
  Jérémie Droulers (3D anim)
  Fred Roz (Credits)
  Thierry Flament (Prod supv)
  Philippe Mouton (Tech supv)
  Isabelle Delhumeau (Tech team)
  Sylvain Jardin (Tech team)
  Fabien Eigen (Exploitation)
  Benjamin Clement (Exploitation)
Make Up: Myriam Hottois (Key make-up artist)
  Florence Batteault (Asst make-up)
  Sandrine Cirilli (Asst make-up)
  Chloé Van Lierde (Asst make-up)
  Elisabeth Delesalle (Asst make-up)
  Benoît Lestang (Spec eff key make-up)
  Olivier Alonso (Spec eff asst make-up)
  Geoffroy Felley (Spec eff asst make-up)
  Christian Gruau (Key hairdresser)
  Thierry Di-Cecca (Hair stylist)
  Laure Moulin (Hair stylist)
  Raphaël Cornillon (Fashion hair stylist)
  Mélanie Gerbeaux (Wig maker)
Production Misc: Gérard Moulevrier (Casting)
  Rachel Berger (Casting asst)
  Sana El Ghoul (Casting asst)
  Laurent Soulet (Extras casting coord)
  Jérôme Sacerdot (Extras casting asst)
  Sylvette Baudrot (Scr supv)
  Stéphan Guillemet (Unit prod mgr)
  Olivier Jacob (Asst unit mgr, Berck-sur-Mer)
  Gwenaël Camuzard (Asst unit mgr, Paris)
  Vincent Lefeuvre (Asst unit mgr, Lourdes)
  Emmanuel Mathieu (Asst unit mgr, Toulon)
  Virginia Anderson (Post-prod mgr)
  Marion Gervais (Children's coach)
  Sylvie Coen (Legal advisor)
  Myriam Kaufmann (Prod controller)
  Eric Travers (Business affairs asst)
  Marie Guillon (Prod accountant)
  Edith Barrier (Prod accountant)
  Hugo Pilet (Asst accountant)
  Amélie Dibon (Prod coord)
  Bianca Turetsky (Asst to Mr. Schnabel)
  Maguy Cohen (Asst to Mr. Schnabel)
  Catherine Brelet-von Sydow (Asst to Mr. Max von Sydow)
  Logan Lelievre (Prod asst)
  David Thooris (Prod asst)
  Sébastien Cosset (Prod asst)
  Julien Minet (Prod asst)
  Sébastien Coulet (Prod asst)
  Laurent Platiau (Prod asst)
  Delphine Brunet (Prod asst)
  Olgierd Hordierjuk-Zaniewicki (Prod asst)
  Virginie Bernard (Prod asst)
  Xavier Champagnac (Prod asst)
  Maud Hubert (Prod asst)
  David Artigala (Prod asst)
  Jean-Patrick Nourricier (Prod asst)
  Mathieu Descouches (Prod asst)
  Julien Linieres (Prod asst)
  Thierry Leveque (Prod asst)
  Déborah Dours (Prod asst)
  Emilie Larribaut-Guinguene (Prod asst)
  Anne-Claire Loridant (Prod asst)
  Océane D'Hont (Prod asst)
  Olivier Billard (Prod asst)
  Aurore Diot-Cods (Prod asst)
  Valéry Bouteliere (Prod asst)
  Emiliano Fernandez (Driver for Mr. Schnabel)
  Arnaud Bisselbach (Driver)
  Hélène Millet (Driver)
  Marcel Collon (Diving bell coord)
  Fabrice Collon (Diving bell asst)
  Anne Collon (Diving bell asst)
  Patrick Collon (Diving bell asst)
  Christian Gazio (Fly wrangler)
  LVT (Subtitles)
  CMC (Subtitles)
  Alexander Whitelaw (Subtitles)
  N. Palmer (Subtitles)
  Hervé Icovic (English dub)
  Alter Ego (English dub)
  Michael Katims (English dub)
  Christine Loisy (Archivist)
  Fiona McLaughlin (Archivist)
  Les Dauphins (Ambulances)
  Sarl Loveca (Action vehicles)
  Dubourg Automobiles (Action vehicles)
  VIP (Trailers)
  VVS - Voitures Ventouses Services (Security and conning)
  Car Grip Films (Tech trucks)
  Cicar (Tech trucks)
  Car Grip Films (Unit vehicles)
  Efferis (Unit vehicles)
  Hertz (Unit vehicles)
  La Cuisine Qui Roule (Catering, Lourdes)
  Locatering (Catering, Berck-sur-Mer and Paris)
  Lebras Communications (Walkie-talkies)
  Dominque Hollier (Translation)
  Marsh S.A. (Insurance)
  Sylvain Joubert (Insurance)
  Moteur! (Press agent)
  Dominique Segall (Press agent)
  Hopitaux de Paris (Assistance publique)
  L'hopital Maritime de Berck (Assistance publique)
Stand In: Pascal Guegan (Stunt coord)
Color Personnel: Quinta Industries (Col)
  Laboratory LTC (Col)
  Jean-Robert Gibard (Col, LTC)
  Olivier Chiavassa (Col, LTC)
  Stéphane Martinie (Col, LTC)
  Olivier Duval (Col, LTC)
  Dominique Boussagol (Laboratory supv, LTC)
  Varujan Gumusel (Laboratory supv, LTC)
  Christian Dutac (Col grader, LTC)
  Danielle Maleville (Project mgr, LTC)
  Duboicolor (Col)
  Tommaso Vergallo (Digital cinema mgr, Duboicolor)
  François Dupuy (Tech head, Duboicolor)
  Barbara Albucher Serci (Head of Duboicolor project, Duboicolor)
  Benoît Hay (Head of Duboicolor project, Duboicolor)
  Loriane Lucas (Negative lineup, Duboicolor)
  Gabriel Porier (Scan, Duboicolor)
  Nolwenn Moign (Pictures management, Duboicolor)
  Thomas Jodeau (Pictures management, Duboicolor)
  Elodie Ly Tri (Restoration, Duboicolor)
  Charlotte Quemy (Restoration, Duboicolor)
  Abdel Ali Kassou (Shoot, Duboicolor)
  Éclair Numérique (Col)
  Isabelle Julien (Digital col grader on luster, Éclair Numérique)
  Marine Lepoutre (Col grader asst, Éclair Numérique)
  Rosanna D'Andrea (Luster asst, Éclair Numérique)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Country: France and United States
Language: French

Music: “Theme for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly ” by Paul Cantelon, recorded at The University of Victoria, recordist/producer Russell Dawkin; “Concerto for Piano in F Minor, BWV 1056 – Largo” by Johann Sebastian Bach, piano: Hae Won Chang, Camerata Cassovia directed by R. Stankovsky, Kapagama/Naxos – HNH International; “Napoli Milionaria” by Nino Rota, conducted by Carlo Savina, ©Radio Filmusica, 1993 C.A.M. S.r.l., courtesy of C.A.M. S.r.l.
Songs: “La mer,” by Charles Trenet and Albert Lasry, performed by Charles Trenet, ©Editions Raoul Breton, 1946 Capitol Music, a branch of EMI Music France, courtesy of EMI Music France; “Je chante sous la pluie (French adaptation of “Singin’ in the Rain”),” music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by Arthur Freed, adaptation by A. Ker, Rene Nazelles & M. Lauzin, ©EMI Catalogue Partnership/EMI Robbins Catalogue Inc., with the permission of MIE Catalogue Partnership France; “Chains of Love,” by Melvin Lincoln Davis, Donald Davis and Jimmy Barnes, performed by The Dirtbombs, ©EMI Longitude Music, with the permission of EMI Music Publishing France, (Windswept Pacific Music Ltd.), In the Red Records; “All the World Is Green,” by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, ©2002 Jalma Music c/o BMG Music Publishing France, with the permission of BMG Music Vision, 2001 Anti, Inc. courtesy of Anti, Inc.; “Pauvre petite fille riche,” by Vline Buggy and Hubert Giraud, ©S.E.M.I./Hubert Giraud; “ Lolita Love Theme,” by Robert J. Harris, ©Chappell & Co with the permission of Warner Chappell Music France, courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment; “Ultra Violet (Light My Way),” by Bono & The Edge/U2, performed by U2, ©PolyGram Int. Music Publ. B.V., 1991 Island Records Ltd., with the kind permission of Universal Music Special Projects; “Don’t Kiss Me Goodbye,” by Pierre Emery, performed by Ultra Orange et Emmanuelle, 2007 Sony BMG Music Entertainment France, with the kind permission of Sony BMG Music Entertainment France; “Pale Blue Eyes,” by Lou Reed, performed by The Velvet Underground, ©1968 Oakfield Avenue Music Ltd./Screen GEMS-EMI Music Inc., 1969 UMG Recordings Inc., with the kind permission of Universal Music Special Projects and EMI Music Publishing France; “Happy Birthday to You,” words by Patty Smith Hill, music by Mildred J. Hill, ©1935 Summy Birchard Company, with the permission of Warner Chappell Music France; “Quatre cents coups,” composed and conducted by Jean Constantin, original film score Les quatre cents coups , written and directed by François Truffaut, ©1966 Les Films Du Carosse, with the kind permission of MK2; “Ramshackle Day Parade,” by Luke Bellen, Scott Shields, Paul Martin Slattery, Edward Simon Stafford and Joe Strummer, performed by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, ©2003 Casbah Prod. Ltd., with the kind permission of Universal Music Special Projects and Reverb Music – ATV Music publishing administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing France, 2003 Hellcat Records, courtesy of Hellcat Records; “Green Grass,” by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, ©2004 Jalma Music c/o BMG Music Publishing France, with the permission of BMG Music Vision, 2004 Anti, Inc., courtesy of Anti, Inc.
Composer: U2
  Johann Sebastian Bach
  Jimmy Barnes
  Luke Bellen
  Bono
  Kathleen Brennan
  Nacio Herb Brown
  Vline Buggy
  Paul Cantelon
  Jean Constantin
  Donald Davis
  Melvin Lincoln Davis
  Russell Dawkin
  The Edge
  Pierre Emery
  Arthur Freed
  Hubert Giraud
  Robert J. Harris
  Mildred Hill
  Patty Smith Hill
  A. Ker
  Albert Lasry
  M. Lauzin
  Rene Nazelles
  Lou Reed
  Nino Rota
  Scott Shields
  Paul Martin Slattery
  Edward Simon Stafford
  Joe Strummer
  Charles Trenet
  Tom Waits
Source Text: Based on the book Le scaphandre et le papillon by Jean-Dominique Bauby (Paris, 1997).
Authors: Jean-Dominique Bauby

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Pathé Renn Production, France 3 Cinema 0/0/2007 dd/mm/yyyy  

PCA NO: 43714
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital; dts Digital Sound in selected theatres
  col: Fujifilm
  Lenses/Prints: photographed on Kodak Motion Picture Film; Camera and lenses by Bogard

 
Genre: Biography
  Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Imagination
  Language and languages
  Maturation
  Memoirs
  Paralysis
  Stroke
 
Subjects (Minor): Claustrophobia
  Coma
  Conscience
  The Count of Monte Cristo (Novel)
  Dreams
  Editors
  Elle (Magazine)
  Ex-spouses
  Eyes
  Family relationships
  Hospitals
  Locked-in syndrome
  Love affairs
  Memory
  Physical therapy
  Physicians
  Playboys
  Publishers and publishing
  Speech therapists
  Translators

Note:        The Diving Bell and the Butterfly , a French-U.S. co-production released in North America in French with English subtitles, is based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby published in France under the title Le scaphandre et le papillon [which, in English, means "The Diver and the Butterfly"], and was the film’s working title. Bauby, the editor for the French fashion magazine Elle , became the victim of “locked-in syndrome” after suffering a severe stroke at the age of forty-three. As depicted in the film, Bauby was hospitalized at the Berck-sur-Mer hospital in France. Although he retained his sense of touch, he had no ability to speak or move, except for the use of one eye. A speech therapist developed the alphabet transcription process that was depicted in the film. Blinking to choose letters, Bauby dictated his memoir, letter by letter.
       Before the opening credits for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly , a scene takes place from the point of view of the character "Jean-Do," who has recently suffered a stroke and is regaining consciousness after three weeks in a coma. His vision is blurred and voices fade in and out as he tries to focus on his surroundings, including the doctors and nurses at the French hospital in which he is confined. Most of the film continues through Jean-Do's point of view, interspersed with scenes from his memories and also his imagination. The intercut scenes include those featuring Jean-Do in a diving bell, sinking in the sea when he feels suffocated by his condition, and fields of butterflies and flowers when he wishes himself to be freed of physical or mental constraint. During the closing credits, footage of an iceberg shearing off and falling into the sea is shown in reverse, as if rebuilding itself.
       Actor Mathieu Amalric is heard throughout the film in voice-over narration as Bauby’s internal voice, reacting to his surroundings but unheard by the hospital staff, his friends or family. After the cast list in the opening credits, special acknowledgment is given to Azzedine Alaïa, Michael Wincott, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Lenny Kravitz and Farida Khelfa, who played themselves in the film.
       In addition, acknowledgment is given for various images used in the film including Galatee Films for the use of stills from the film Le peuple migrateur and The Marlon Brando Living Trust for stills of the actor. Special thanks was given to the staff and patients at Les Hopitaux de Paris and L'hôpital Maritime de Berck-sur-Mer, where Bauby received his care and where most of the film was shot. Several fashion designers are acknowledged including Hermès, Burberry and Louis Vuitton. The closing credits include a list of people at various locations in Paris, Berck-sur-Mer and Lourdes who assisted the filmmakers. Acknowledgment is also given to several musicians featured on the film's soundtrack including U2, Lou Reed, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan.
       The closing credits end with the following statement: "ALIS Association du Locked-In Syndrome. Today, it is estimated that there are several thousand people around the world who suffer from Locked-In Syndrome, 2,500 in the United States, 6,000 in Europe, 500 in France. By founding ALIS on the 5th of March 1997, Jean-Dominique Bauby meant to show that human beings are capable of overcoming this illness which keeps them locked away inside themselves and which robs them of the language of gesture and speech. Today, ALIS bring psychological and financial support to the patients and to their families. The association collects funds so that people with LIS can acquire the special equipment which will allow them to leap over the walls of their prison."
       While the filmmakers stated in the onscreen credits that they took "artistic license" in the description of Bauby's friends and associates, a 17 Dec 2007 LAT article noted that the film accurately portrayed “locked-in syndrome,” including the limited movement of just the eyes and the victims’ high mortality rate from complications due to common illnesses like pneumonia. According to a 22 Dec 2007 LAT article, director Julian Schnabel, who interviewed Bauby’s associates for the film, added more intimacy to the relationships between Bauby and his various female acquaintances, who were portrayed more discreetly in the memoir. Schnabel stated in an Oct 2007 Esquire article that each female character who used the repetitious alphabet to communicate with Bauby created a beautiful "love chant" with the language.
       Contemporary news items offer the following information on the production: A 30 May 1997 HR article noted that The Goldwyn Entertainment Co., Columbia Pictures and Egg Pictures sought to acquire Bauby’s autobiography, but DreamWorks SKG and Sony bought the rights, then hired Scott Hicks to direct and Ron Bass to adapt the book for the screen. According to a 30 Jun 1997 Publishers Weekly article, Wild Dancer Films was also involved in the purchase of the rights. A 20 Jun 2003 HR article stated that the film rights were owned by Universal Pictures, who assigned the picture to producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, with Ronald Harwood to write the screenplay.
       On 20 Feb 2004 DV reported that Universal had set Schnabel to direct the film and was in negotiations with Johnny Depp to star. The article added that Bass never wrote a script for the film. A 13 Oct 2006 Screen International article reported that Pathé Renn had acquired international distribution rights for the film and, soon after, production began on the film. According to a 19 Oct 2007 Screen International article, after Universal had sidelined the project, producer Jon Kilik took the film to Pathé. According to a 23 May 2007 LAT article, Depp had agreed to do the film on the condition that Schnabel direct it; however, Depp had previous commitments that prevented his involvement.
       A 25 May 2007 DV article noted that Schnabel brought in Kilik, who then insisted the film be shot in France and in the French language to follow the memoir. The onscreen credits state that in addition to Berck-sur-Mer, the location sites included Paris, Lourdes and Toulon. As noted in the same DV article, Kilik and Schnabel, who is a well-known painter as well as a motion picture director, had worked together on two previous films, also about real-life, tragic figures: the black, New York painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in Basquiat (1996) and gay, Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls (2001, see above).
       A 7 Dec 2007 Entertainment Weekly article stated that at the time Bauby was dictating his memoir, he expressed interest in seeing it developed into a film. According to a 22 Dec 2007 LAT article, Schnabel was moved to make the film by his own experiences caring for his elderly father, who, after being diagnosed with cancer, lived until his death with the director and his wife, actress Olatz Lopez Garmendia, who played a nurse in the film. In addition, the 23 May 2007 LAT article added that Schnabel was also influenced by his experiences with his friend Fred Hughes, who was unable to talk at the end of his life because of complications due to multiple sclerosis.
       According to a 5 Nov 2007 Var article, Harwood initially had difficulty with the material, but then borrowed an idea from his Oscar-winning script for the 2002 film The Pianist to tell the story through Bauby’s internal life with voice-over narration. A 16 Nov 2007 HR article stated that Harwood interviewed the mother of Bauby’s children and one of his therapists to aid him in developing the script. His screenplay, which was based on an adaptation of the English translation of the memoir, was written in English, then translated back into French prior to filming.
       After the film had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 22 May 2007, Miramax bought the North American distribution rights. Subsequent to Cannes, the film was screened at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals, as well as AFI Fest, where it won the Audience Award. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was selected as one of AFI's Movies of the Year for 2007, and the National Board of Review named it as the year's Best Foreign Film. The picture received two Golden Globes, for Best Director--Motion Picture and for Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for Best Screenplay. Schnabel was awarded the Best Director Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as being nominated by the Directors Guild of America for directorial achievement in a feature film. Harwood received a Writers Guild of America nomination for his adapted screenplay, and the film was nominated by the Producers Guild of America for its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded Janusz Kaminski for Best Cinematography.
       The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film won Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Feature and Best Screenplay. In addition, the film won a BAFTA for Adapted Screenplay and was nominated in the Film Not in the English Language category. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   30 May 1997.   
Daily Variety   20 Feb 2004   p. 1, 48.
Daily Variety   23 May 2007   p. 6, 11.
Daily Variety   25 May 2007   p. 3, 16.
Entertainment Weekly   24 Aug 2007.   
Entertainment Weekly   7 Dec 2007   p. 56.
Esquire   Oct 2007   pp. 232-233.
Hollywood Reporter   30 May 1997   p. 4, 63.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Jun 2003   p. 4, 35.
Hollywood Reporter   23 May 2007   p. 9, 16.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Nov 2007.   
Los Angeles Times   23 May 2007.   
Los Angeles Times   30 Nov 2007   Calendar, p. 1, 14.
Los Angeles Times   6 Dec 2007.   
Los Angeles Times   17 Dec 2007   Health, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   22 Dec 2007   Calendar, p. 1, 16.
New York Times   30 Nov 2007.   
Newsweek   3 Dec 2007.   
Publishers Weekly   30 Jun 1997.   
Screen International   13 Oct 2006.   
Screen International   19 Oct 2007.   
Screen International   1 Jun 2007.   
Variety   22 May 2007.   
Variety   5 Nov 2007.   

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