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Ethics film series continues with 'Diving Bell'

Feb. 18, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A series of films tackling ethical issues, sponsored by the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, continues with a Monday, Feb. 23, screening of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly."

The film, to be shown at 6:30 p.m. in Room 1025 of Brown Hall, chronicles the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, Elle France magazine editor, who at the age of 43 suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body except for his left eye. He used a blinking code to write his memoir and eloquently described the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body.

Also titled "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," the book describes the influence of Bauby's profound disability on his social relationships and the shift from his independent lifestyle to one in which he is unable to speak and is utterly dependent on others for his care. Despite profound challenges, the author offers insights into the resilience of the human spirit and what it means to be joyful.

The book was later turned into the acclaimed film directed by Julian Schnabel. An after-film discussion will be led by Dr. Helen Sharp, WMU associate professor of speech pathology and audiology.

The screening is being held in conjunction with Book Read 2009, an initiative by the WMU College of Health and Human Services, in which members of the community are invited to join students, faculty staff in reading Bauby's memoir.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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