PRINT February 2008


Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 2007, still from a color film in 35 mm, 112 minutes. Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) and Empress Eugénie (Emma de Caunes).

EVEN BEFORE CITIZEN KANE (1941), Orson Welles was already experimenting with using film techniques to heighten audience awareness of the special relationship between the teller and the tale that is fundamental to movies. In a little-known precursor to that film titled Too Much Johnson (1938), Welles made inventive use of a handheld camera to expose the phenomenological conundrum at the heart of moviemaking: How do you make an audience aware of the artificiality of cinematic reality and still keep them emotionally connected to the story? In the great leap that was Citizen Kane, Welles explored using the camera and its naturally unstable point of view to heighten awareness of a character’s psychological state; to create an inner life on-screen that was as fluid and mobile as it could be in literature. Welles and cinematographer Gregg Toland freed the camera from a fixed point of

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