Festival de Cannes 70: Julian Schnabel, 2007

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly) is an extraordinary looking film, and concept, unlike much you have seen before, or could see in the future. A grand achievement by director Julian Schnabel. The set-up is purely about perspective, we see much of the movie through the point of view of the main character. And I mean this quite literally, through his eyes. For those who have not seen it, or know what it is about, the movie is based on real events, when Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) suffered a stroke and was left paralyzed from the head down. Bauby’s eyes guide us (well, one eye actually), not the exact way they guided him, but Schnabel certainly gives it a good go. The film also tells the story of Bauby’s life prior to the ailment. Some of the technical story-telling is so astonishing you wonder what kind of trickery this really is. Schnabel’s direction is so tight and meticulous, it flourishes – at times you suffocate as your heart breaks. Beating the likes of Cristian Mungiu, Naomi Kawase, Wong Kar-wai, Joel and Ethan Coen, David Fincher to the directing prize was no surprise in spite of that strong competition.

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