The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Sloan Foundation Film

Release Date



  • Julian Schnabel


  • Mathieu Amalric
  • Emmanuelle Seigner
  • Marie-Josée Croze


  • Hamptons International Film Festival, 2007

The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.

Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), editor-in-chief of French fashion magazine Elle, has a devastating stroke at age 43. The damage to his brain stem results in locked-in syndrome, with which he is almost completely paralyzed and only able to communicate by blinking an eye. Bauby painstakingly dictates his memoir via the only means of expression left to him. Though trapped in his body, Bauby is still able to escape his "diving bell" by letting his imagination take flight like a butterfly. Artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel won the Best Director award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for this fiercely beautiful, quietly moving adaptation of Jean-Dominique Bauby's remarkable memoir.

Possible Topics

  • Technologies that are being used or developed for patients with severe brain injuries who cannot communicate verbally
  • A neurological look at stroke, coma, and locked-in syndrome
  • The relationship between mind and brain

Past Programs


The Biological Bases of Consciousness

Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah, KY

The Development of Brain-Machine Interfaces

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA


The Relationship Between Mind and Brain

Enzian Theater, Maitland, FL


How the Brain Creates the Mind

Coral Gables Art Cinema, Coral Gables, FL

The Story of Jean-Dominique Bauby

Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington, NY