EST. 2009

May 22, 2010

That Scaphandre et le Papillon

AS IF EXPRESSING YOURSELF ISN'T HARD ENOUGH. Imagine having to blink out your words, letter by letter.

Jean-Dominique Bauby, once an editor-in-chief of Elle France, had lived a glamorous and promiscuous life until suffering a stroke in December of 1995, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. With the help of his speech therapist, he was able to "write" a memoir of his thoughts, emotions and experience as a Locked-in Syndrome patient by blinking his way through letters dictated to him over and over and over again.

E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc. Henriette Durand would recite the letters in order of French language frequency, to which Jean-Do would blink to choose the letters that spell out his words. Started out slow and seemingly hopeless but there's no stopping a sharp, vivid mind. And there's no stopping a clever man's wit.

The book took ten months and about 200,000 blinks to write. It was published in March 1997, a few days before Jean-Do would have died of pneumonia.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, on of my ultimate all-time favorite films, beautifully presents the boundless capacity of the human spirit. Giving an insightful perspective on paralysis and what it can and cannot cripple, the film, based on Jean-Dominque Bauby's memoir, assures us that pity for ourselves is the only disability there is.

When getting our message through is tiresome and tedious, it is our will that makes the words worth saying. And when all else goes, it's our memories, our imagination and the kindness of our companions that make even the most wretched life worth living.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 2007. Directed by Julian Schnabel with screenplay by Ronald Harwood.


Victoria said...

Hi Lady!! I super super love this movie!! :-) It's soo perfect, I loved every frame, and of course, ended up crying!! Haven't read the book though I've been wanting to...

I super love your blog too!! I think I read so many back entries already.. hahaha! :-)

-- Vicky

Lady San Pedro said...

How sweet of you to drop by and drop a comment!:-)

I really wanna get a copy of the book! Found one abroad once but that was before I saw the movie, now I really regret not buying it!