Sunday, April 18, 2010

An unconventional hero

I'll continue a little more about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

I think Bauby is a hero as a man who lived brave with noble resignation and completed extraordinary new thing in an extreme condition. There are many films about heroes who fight against daunting odds, but no "locked-in syndrome" hero before him.

"Not to lose humanity, it is the way to survive." He tried to rise up above his emotional reaction to that miserable condition and used his brains, thinking, imagination and memory to the fullest.

I haven't read the book, but seeing from the film, I understand his wit, imagination and healthy cynicism. This is an excerpt from customer reviews; "Bauby's book, for all the horror that we naturally feel at his status, is wonderfully optimistic and life affirming. Sure, there are a few moments of well earned self pity, but they are almost completely drowned out by the author's enduring hopes and dreams and memories. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after this book was published, but in it's pages, he left behind one of the great testament's to the splendor and majesty of the human spirit. In these times when people tend to complain about the pettiest matters, he reminds us that even when life is genuinely difficult, it is still quite beautiful and invaluable and well worth living."


  1. I have not seen this movie, but this is a worth seeing. Bauby's life gives a hope to people in the difficulties. 当たり前のこととして持っていた物を突然失ってしまう。失ってから始めてその大切さに気がつく。失意の底から立ち上がるには、時間がかかり、静かに見守ってくれる人、励ましてくれる人がいなくては超えられない困難が沢山あると思う。この映画は強い意志を持ったBaubyと、彼を支える暖かい世界も描かれているのかなあと想像します。“The Diving Bell and The ButterfIy” this title is enough to touch my heart. If I were the butterfly, I could freely flit around the loved persons, flowers, and the beautiful pond reflected by blue sky and forests.
    My brother in law had been in tears with having these desires, after a serious stroke hit him. He was 28 years old. His mental was normal, but the left side of his body became completely paralyzed. A couple of years later of his stroke, he finally started looking for his life, and playing the piano with his right hand. He was once very good at playing the piano. He moved his right fingers skillfully on the keyboards, playing the both parts of right and left melodies and harmonies, with using pedal. He often arranged the notes in order to find simple playing and beautiful tunes. His performance crashed my common idea about playing the piano, also his passion for playing the piano shook my deep emotion. While listenning to his music ,I cuold really see his deep soul in his performance. This is my experience my brother in law gave me.

  2. Yes, redrose, the film is the kind you imagine. As is often the case, the book seems to be better than the film. To read a review that "his words flow like the image and emotions of poetry and one thought leads to another," I imagine he became a butterfly in his thinking, sitting on a flower/topic for a time and then flits away to another.

    I know you live with your in-laws. You'll never be sorry someday in future that you've taken such a wonderful care of your brother.

  3. I had not heard of this book or movie, or the man. Very inspiring. If you like this story, I recommend the autobiography of actor Michael J. Fox: Lucky Man

  4. "Locked-in syndrome" is deadly awful. And it reminded me of one movie, "Johnny Got His Gun" which I saw in youth. After seeing it, I really hoped this was not filmed based on the real sutory. Johnny is a young American soldier hit by a bombshell on the last day of World War One. He lies in a hospital bed without his ears, eyes, mouth, nose,legs and arms. He had been believed to be unconcious for a long time. One day a young nurse finds him conscious and takes care of him as a humanbeing with a deep compassion. This film ends in a cruel conclusion. Johnny starts to communicate by using Morse code and asks his doctors either to show him to people to let them know the horrors of war or to give him marciful death. But the army refuse neither of them and decide to keep him alive as the living death in an isolated room. What a cruel action taken by the army is! He is foreced to live as a brain dead for the rest of his life without any interaction. I cann't forget this film.
    In the middle of Vitnam War. this film was made.

  5. Snowwhite, I read Japanese work of translation of it, ジョニーは戦場へ行った, when I was a student. I remember I felt so depressed, horrified and angry. I didn't feel like seeing the movie, and I didn't. If I hadn't read the book, I might have seen the movie.

    Despite the heavy and serious matter, the tone, touch and style of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" is very different from that of the fictional antiwar film. I've never seen the film like this and it makes me feel reading the original book to listen to Bauby's talks.

  6. Michael J.Fox was acting cool Marty McFly! I think it was quite long ago when I learned his disease. Thank you for the introduction of the book, Marc.

  7. I know two stories are completely different. I understan very well what you want to convey and share with us. As there is a possibility that the story was true, it has made me feel sick for a long time. I wish I could forget it. I'm very sorry to remind you of this story. I guess my comment was not proper.

    " Tuesdays with Morrie" gave me inormous courage and a deep emotion. "My Left Foot" too. I don't know why these stories poped up in my mind at first.

  8. "I guess my comment was not proper."
    Don't take that way, snowwhite. You pointed out similarities, and further you gave information to those who don't know it. That book/film surely gave us great impact, like a nightmare?

    I didn't know either of the movie. Thank you.

  9. Stardust, when I said "I guess my comment was not popper.", I was thingking how difficult it was to convey what I wanted to say accurately, and almost gave up. I didn't mean to point out similarities, but differences in both of them. To live as a humanbeing, we must be treated as a humanbeing, and can communicate interactively in any methods and have a hope.

    I remembere Christopher Reeve had appeared on Tv many times on behalf of people in the simmilar situation and tried to convince the government
    to give more budget to IPS cell research. I like his movies, Somewhere in Time, The Remains of the Day and so on. He did all what he could do. His action was noble. He seemed to have a little hope for the future at least.

    But,Johnny was deprived of everything. Under the similar condition, but huge differences in them.

    I wish I was a better communicater.

  10. I seem not to have taken exactly what you mean by "I guess my comment was not proper." However, I think I know you started your first comment with "similar condition" of the two films but that you wanted to say about "huge differences." (In my previous comment, I meant that first you wrote their "similar condition" by my writing "you pointed out similarities" and then you explained the "huge differences" by "further you gave information to those who don't know it.") By telling the horrible and hopeless part of the story, you consequently left your messages to the readers' mind, I think.

    It's very difficult for me to spell out exactly what I mean. As you can see, meaning occurs between a writer's sentences and a reader's mind. So we need to hone our reading comprehension skills as well as logical writing skills. Generally we'd be able to have better understanding by exchanging questions and answers, maybe not to the full understanding depending on the matter.


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