I'm Finally Here!

I'm Finally Here!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh .... it feels so nice to be home with no travel plans for the foreseeable future -- just settling in and catching my breath after the whirlwind of this past year.

Eliza and I have been having a DVD fest. Starting with The L Word. The first 3 seasons were great, but took a swift downturn with the introduction of Papi's character. The whole "competition" with Shane was so ridiculous! And when I went to drop off the videos, the guy at the counter commented that the first few seasons were really good, but "what's up with Papi? She sucks! She ruined the whole thing." Yup!

Next Up:

Diving Bell and the Butterfly directed by Julian Schnabel. An amazing film based on French memoir Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby. It describes what his life is like after suffering a massive stroke that left him with a condition called Locked-In syndrome. It also details what his life was before the stroke.

Photo by Eliza Barrios

On a personal level, I was able to relate to the initial scenes of Bauby's problems with his sight. Earlier this year, I suffered an MS episode that led to the loss of some of the sight in my right eye. It's been hard to describe to people -- I've been describing it as: it would be like having only one contact in. However, the film really caught the experience for me.

Anyway, more on Bauby from Wikipedia:
On December 8, 1995, Elle magazine editor-in-chief Bauby suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralyzed with the exception of some movement in his head and left eye. The entire book was written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid, in July and August of 1996. A transcriber repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E S A R I N T U L etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter. The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and each word took approximately two minutes. It is also how he dictated this memoir. The book also chronicles everyday events and what they are like for a person with locked-in syndrome. These events include playing at the beach with his family, getting a bath, and meeting visitors. The French edition of the book was published in March, 1997. It received excellent reviews and sold 150,000 copies in the first week and went on to become a number one bestseller across Europe. Ten days after the book was published, Bauby died of pneumonia.

We initially watched about 20 minutes of I'm Not There the film directed by Todd Haynes and "inspired by the many lives of Bob Dylan" and I had to turn it off because I found it to be so corny. I tossed it off to my being more literal and preference for narrative. However, the next night, I decided to give it another try -- maybe if I watched more, I'd appreciate it. And I did ... or rather a bit of it. I loved the vignette of Heath Ledger and Charlotte Gainsbourg (though not as any relation to Bob Dylan), it was beautiful and so well done on every level.

However, the rest of the movie was pretty much a hokey mockumentary of Dylan's life with many scenes that are reenactments from Don't Look Back and No Direction Home. Some things are just better left alone! This was the question for Doug Block in his documentary 51 Birch Street. I'm glad he didn't -- an excellent film!