Friday, March 07, 2008

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly

I finally saw this yesterday, though it's too little, too late for Oscar. I had originally said it looked "tepid" but it is actually a fantastic film, wacky old Schnabel is a genius. It has as compelling a new cinematic style as a narrative film could. Mark Kermode recently said that There Will Be Blood changed the way narrative cinema is told. That's entirely possible but Schnabel possibly has too. The consistency in the work, the devotion to the aesthetic, is truly remarkable. The acting is top notch, notably Mathieu Amalric in the lead role of Jean-Dominique Bauby and the stunningly, heartbreakingly beautiful Marie-Josée Croze as one of Bauby's therapists. Emmanuelle Seigner is also very notable as the suffering mother of Bauby's children.

Obvious bias aside for Schnabel's signficant use of the Dirtbombs' "Chains of Love", the short soundtrack is the best of the year by far. It conquers Juno. One of U2's best - "Ultra Violet (Light My Way)" - anchors a major moment and Tom Waits joins Mick Collins and company as the only artist to have his song do double duty, in this case "All The World Is Green". VU's "Pale Blue Eyes" and Joe Strummer's "Ramshackle Day Parade" are used superbly as is the exceptionally great opening sequence "La Mer" by Charles Tenet. But perhaps above all, dead center in the heart of the film, is the staggeringly good, impressively powerful "Don't Kiss Me Goodbye" by Ultra Orange and Emmanuelle (as in actress Emmanuelle Seigner).

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