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Diving Bell & The Butterfly [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Mathieu Amalric    DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.


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Product details

  • Actors: Mathieu Amalric
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Miramax Echo Bridge
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Jun 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,434 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The seemingly claustrophobic story of a man imprisoned in his paralysed body becomes a dazzling and expansive movie about love, imagination, and the will to live. After a stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric, Kings and Queen) can only move his left eye--and through that eye he learns to communicate, one letter at a time. With the help of his speech therapist (Marie-Josee Croze, Munich) and a stenographer (Anne Consigny, Anna M.), Bauby writes the stunning memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But such a plot summary makes the movie sound like lofty, self-important medicine--far from it. Director Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls), working from an elegant screenplay by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist) and with an outstanding cast (which also includes Frantic's Emmanuelle Seigner as Bauby's neglected wife), has created a movie as engrossing and hypnotic as a thriller, a movie that wrestles with mortality yet has stubborn streaks of dark humour and eroticism, that portrays a man who overcomes unimaginable obstacles but refuses to paint him as a saint. Schnabel was once dismissed as a pompous and overblown painter, but he's crafted an intimate visual poem, a humble sonata about life at its most fragile. --Bret Fetzer

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 18 April 2008
By Jaybird
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the true story of a Jean Dominique Bauby, the debonair editor of French Elle, who suffered locked in syndrome following a devastating stroke. After the stroke he can only communicate by blinking his eye.

Everything about this as a premise for a film sounds terrible - he does not move, so what is filmic about it; he does not communicate verbally, so where is the dialogue or the relationships; he reflects on his life and his mortality, but how do you show that?

Do not be put off. The film is beautifully made, turning faces into landscapes and using careful palettes of colour to distinguish pre and post stroke scenes. The film shows how Jean-Do becomes a cypher for those around him, providing meaning to their lives, even though inside he is intrinsically himself. In the end, the film is about the meaning of this man's life and all our lives, clear-eyed and fearless.

It is moving without being sentimental or mawkish, insightful, funny, beautiful and intelligent. An absolute must see.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The book is so beautiful a piece of personal philosophy that I went to see the film with some trepidation, but if anything the film adds to the book by Bauby. The film is beautifully shot, funny and moving (but not in a sentimental way).

The director (who does not speak fluent French) chose to retain the original language of the book and this, I believe speaks volumes in a world of cinema where the digestability of a film by a mass audience is often classed as more important than retaining the soul of a piece of artistic cinema. The film was originally meant to be made by Pathe and star Jonny Depp - I think a tragedy was averted!

This film can be enjoyed (yes enjoyed - despite its theme it really isnt at all depressing) on so many levels - as a compelling human story, as an uplifting philosophy and as a work of art. You should not miss this film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9/10. The Butterfly effect 2 Mar 2008
'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' is an adaptation of a book many would presume to be unadaptable: former Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby's memoirs reflecting upon his rare medical condition "locked-in syndrome". The film begins begins daringly and terrifyingly from Bauby's perspective, as he regains consciousness in hospital following a stroke and slowly realises that he is totally paralysed except for an ability to roll and blink his eyes. His only means of communication is thus to blink, once for `yes' and twice for `no', and with the assistance of his publisher he learns to spell words via a painstakingly laborious alphabetical system. Together they were able to transcribe the 144 page memoir on which this film is based.

In the first part of the film the viewer is locked, dreadfully, into Bauby's perspective as one of his eyes is sewn shut to counterbalance the effect of muscle paralysis in his face. As the camera deviates from the prison of Bauby's perspective, it seems at first to be a wasted opportunity to powerfully express Bauby's experience through cinematic style. A film told totally from his viewpoint would have been an incredibly challenging formalistic achievement. It would not have been overwhelmingly restrictive since the novel deals as much with Bauby's inner life (the butterfly) - the freedom he finds to explore his memory and imagination - as with his physical life.

Nevertheless, the film justifies its decision to roam beyond the confines of Bauby's vision. Most importantly, we are made privvy to his means of communicating, and how oddly expressive this one facet of communication could be. This film irrefutably demonstrates the notion that eyes are the windows to the soul.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and Original Film 17 Aug 2008
By L. Davidson VINE VOICE
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" is a gripping French film based on a true story about a renowned magazine editor,who after suffering a devastating stroke became paralysed,only able to communicate by blinking one of his eyes. The acting in the film is of a very high standard throughout as we watch the immobile Jean-Do face up to his life altering circumstances at first with despair but then with resignation and finally acceptance of his horrible fate. He is lucky in that he has the love of two women,his wife and mistress to keep him going , as well as his three children and several attentive speech therapists and helpers. Their support bolsters his spirits and enable him to "write" his memoirs and share his experiences of life as a victim of "locked in" syndrome with the world.The film is at times depressing and sad , but it is vital and original as well.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touched by genius 19 Jun 2008
Just when you started to feel that film had become little more than a merchandising exercise, along comes a release that reminds you what it can be. Reading The Diving Bell one could be forgiven for thinking it essentially unfilmable - so much is going on inside the head of the protagonist, there's little `action' not a great deal of dialogue, a slight plot... Yet, Schnabel's film is touched with genius and blessed with uniformly excellent performances, from the speech therapist down to the telephone engineers. Moreover, unlike other films dealing with disability, where the audience looks `at' the disability, here we look `from' - and there's a big difference. The decision to take the point of view from inside Bauby's head is inspired and completely transforms the relationship of the viewer to the subject. Technically and aesthetically it is a triumph - it's quite difficult to think how it could have been improved, even down to the soundtrack. Obviously, there's a depressing side to the tale of a man stricken by total paralysis(!), but the film stands as a testament to the remarkable resilience of the human spirit.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A most thought provoking film
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Diving Bell And The...
he moving story what it is like to be suck within your own body and what you can still achieve
Published 1 month ago by Ms
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you i was very pleased
Published 1 month ago by Sean Harmon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
brill would recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Rio Rita
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully artistic film directed by Julian Schnabel
The difficult story of Jean-Dominique Bauby wonderfully and artistically directed by Julian Schnabel. Read more
Published 2 months ago by loveaubergine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Present so I don't know
Published 2 months ago by John Lessore
5.0 out of 5 stars fab emotional touching film
Excllenent film I am a student nurse, and I watched this film for this purpose it is in French however which I did not know, however did not ruin the film at all... Read more
Published 5 months ago by amy wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
Requested by my husband as part of his Valentine's day gift, so exactly what he wanted - no problems with delivery or gift.
Published 6 months ago by Pamay Wey
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly" on BLU RAY - Playability Issues On...
A beautifully realized film from a much beloved book - but typical of Amazon - all the reviews for this BLU RAY version are actually for the 'DVD' issues - and therein lies a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark Barry
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