I wasn't much looking forward to seeing this Cheltenham Film Society offering, after the diasappointment of last week's screening. But it turned out to be one of the very best I've seen, from the point of view both of the story, and the way it was told. A film of immense power and beauty.
A man in his prime, Jean-Do, has a massive stroke, which he survives - but only just. He is tied up completely within himself, able to think perfectly clearly, but not to communicate except by blinking one of his eyes. Miraculously, he finds a beautiful "interpreter": his autobiography is written and published, shortly after which he dies.
This much many people - me included - had heard about already. What the film brings is another dimension. The narrative from within is interrupted by flashbacks, not in chronological sequence. These go to illustrate Jean-Do's psychological pain - for example his failure to contact a friend released after being held hostage for years: it would have been Jean-Do himself, but he had given up his plane seat to the hostage.
Jean-Do in his diving bell at first just wants to be allowed to die; but through the compassion and kindness he receives, he determines to live, without self-pity, what life he has to the full. So does the butterfly in its short span, spreading its beautiful wings for all to admire.