"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" is based on a book written by Jean Dominique Bauby, the former editor of the French magazine Elle. Paralyzed from a massive stroke, he had what is called "lock-in syndrome".
December, 1995. Forty-three-year-old Jean Dominique Bauby had a stroke while driving with his son. His mental faculties remained intact but his entire body was paralyzed except for his left eye.
Bauby learned to communicate by blinking with his left eye using a letter chart that was interpreted by a close network of people. He was able to dictate the story of his life before and after his stroke.
Director Julian Schnabel read Bauby's book eight years ago and then received the script.
"I think that this here was a man that couldn't do anything, couldn't take a bath, couldn't get a fly off of his nose, but the kind of warmth and compassion that people had for him, what that brings out is in people is something that we shouldn't forget," said Schnabel.
One of the most interesting aspects of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" is how it was filmed.
"I used a swinging tilt lens so it looked like you were looking out of his eye. Sometimes I took latex and put it over the camera and sewed it together, sew up his eye. I put my glasses on the film sometimes on top of the objective of the camera and the lends."
The diving bell is the symbol of Bauby's incarceration inside his practically lifeless body and the butterfly is his imagination which learns to roam more freely than ever before in his new state.
Director Schnabel is nominated for best director. The film has also received a few other nominations for behind the scene activities. The Academy Awards will air Sunday night at 7 p.m. on ABC.