Tag: Biopic

The Elephant Man (1980)

A glimpse into the vast depths of man’s inhumanity, The Elephant Man is David Lynch’s unflinching look at the barbarism that arises when people are confronted with the strange or unusual.

The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man is the semi-biographical story of Joseph Merrick (called John in the film), who suffered from a series of deformities including an enlarged skull, enlarged right arm and legs, and various subcutaneous masses. Beginning his life as a sideshow performer, Merrick (John Hurt) is billed as “The Elephant Man” due to his strange appearance, and a story regarding his pregnant mother being knocked over by a circus elephant. Seen as a curiosity by some, and as an appalling sight by others, Merrick’s “owner,” Bytes (Freddie Jones), is forced by police to end his exposition. Treated as nothing more than an object by Bytes, Merrick is moved to an underground showroom where he is beaten and locked in a basement. Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), having heard the uproar over the deformed man, decides to seek him out in order to medically examine him. Finding Merrick in such abhorrent conditions, and stricken with bronchitis, he coerces Bytes to let him take Merrick to the hospital. During treatment for his illness, Treves learns that Merrick is able to talk, and is well educated. A friendship develops between the two men, and Merrick is given a more-suitable home at the hospital.

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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

Living life through the eyes (eye) of Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) is a deep exploration into living life with Locked-in Syndrome.

Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Waking up in a hospital, Jean-Dominique “Jean-Do” (Mathieu Amalric) is told that he has had a stroke, and has been in a coma for three weeks. Poked and prodded by doctors, Jean-Do quickly realizes that although his mind is fully aware of its surroundings, he is paralyzed from the eyelids down. Unable to communicate with the outside world, Jean-Do is forced to look inward at himself, and reevaluate every moment of his life. Initially communicating with a simple “one blink for yes, two for no” system, until his speech therapist, Henriette (Marie-Josée Croze) teaches a system of painstaking dictation. While she reads the French alphabet, arranged by frequency of appearance in the language, he must blink once for the correct letter, and twice as a space between words. Finally afforded the ability of self-expression, Jean-Do begins to make progress with his paralysis, and begins the arduous journey to blinking out a novel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) from inside the prison of his own body.

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