The subject of the film, Jean-Dominque Bauby, was a fast-living playboy, the toast of the Paris fashion world, until he suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 42.He writes a beautiful memoir by way of that one eyelid and dies 10 days after it is published. How to make a movie out of that? Schnabel's quote hints.
Schnabel shows him waking up in a seaside hospital after weeks in a coma and suffering from what a neurologist calls "locked-in syndrome" -- he is unable to speak or move any part of his body apart from his left eyelid.
The title refers to Bauby's feeling of being trapped in his body, which has come to resemble the airtight chamber of a diving bell, and his still active mind, still agile as a butterfly.
ADDED: And the Palme d'Or goes to a Romanian film about abortion, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" by Cristian Mungiu:
"Pitch perfect and brilliantly acted, '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' is a stunning achievement, helmed with a purity and honesty that captures not just the illegal abortion story at its core but the constant, unremarked negotiations necessary for survival in the final days of the Soviet bloc," reviewer Jay Weissberg wrote....This sounds as though it will upset those who are both pro- and anti-abortion, which may be a good thing. I support abortion rights but think people should face up to "the consequences of their decisions."
Mungiu offers a shocking image of the aborted foetus, but it is the abortionist's graphic description of the process and his chilling exploitation of the women's dilemma that make for particularly excruciating viewing....
"Because of the pressure of the regime, women and families were so much concerned about not being caught for making an illegal abortion that they didn't give one minute of thought about the moral issue," he told reporters.
"It was either you or them getting you for what you did."
He put the foetus on screen to serve as a reminder to audiences. "It makes a point -- people should be aware of the consequences of their decisions," he said.