As with Schnabel’s two previous films, his third is a biographical ode to an accomplished person who meets an untimely death. In 1995 a massive stroke left 43-year-old Jean-Dominique Bauby, the stylish editor of French fashion magazine Elle, completely paralyzed. He dictated his memoir while in the hospital by blinking it out, letter by letter, from his single functioning eye. He died only 10 days after its publication.
Schnabel’s filmic interpretation of Bauby’s book received international critical acclaim from the moment it premiered at Cannes, where Schnabel won Best Director. The Diving Bell was also awarded Golden Globes for best picture and best director and received four Academy Award nominations.