.- The Vatican daily LâOsservatore Romano has praised the new film âThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly,â which recounts the real-life story of a French journalist who became completely paralyzed at the age of 43 and was only able to communicate by blinking an eyelid.
The film tells the story of husband and father of three Jean-Dominique Bauby, the successful editor of the magazine Elle, who suffered a stroke on December 8, 1995, and was afterwards stricken with âLocked-in Syndrome,â in which all physical functions cease but mental faculties remain intact.
âThe Diving Bell and the Butterflyâ was directed by American Jewish director Julian Schnabel. Actor Mathieu Amalric plays Bauby, âwho is a complete prisoner of his own body and is only able to blink his left eye-lid,â LâOsservatore Romano reports.
âCompletely in tune with his situation of handicap and suffering, listening to the voices of his brain and not his mouth, as if we were a privileged audience, we witness Baubyâs slow realization of his new and precarious existence. First, as a complete rejection of life and of the future,â and later with âthe acceptance of this unnatural and incredible reality.â
Thanks to the help of a Christian speech therapist, âhe is able to communicate with the outside world and thus dictate his memoirs, which would be published ten days before his death under the title of âThe Diving Bell and the Butterflyâ.â
âSchnabelâs movie, written with passion by Ronald Harwood, is fortunately not a thesis, it does not inevitably promote rejection, it does not play with the emotions or take part in any kind of moral campaign in support of euthanasia, like the movie âThe Sea Insideâ by Alejandro Amenabar did without shame or impartiality,â the Vatican newspaper stated.
The movie shows the complex relationship between Bauby and his family, his doctors, a priest and various colleagues, underscoring that appreciation for human life can overcome the most extreme situations.
LâOsservatore Romano stressed that Schnabelâs efforts echo the words Paul VI spoke to actors and film directors in May of 1967, when he exhorted them to use their craft to show the mystery of human life, âeven when that life, as in the case of Bauby, seems to have absolutely no meaning.â
The film won the Golden Globe award for best foreign film and best director. It has four Oscar nominations, and Schnabel won the award for best director at the last Cannes film festival.
Click here to view a trailer of the movie.