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Perspectives2094 www.thelancet.com Vol 370 December 22/29, 2007Film and theatreLocked in by lifeTwo new artistic creations vividly depict lives that call into question our beliefs about wellness, normalcy, consciousness, and communication in stories about two people living extra-ordinary lives against enormous odds. The Diving Bell and the Butterfl y is the fi lm version of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s book Le papillon et le scaphandre. It is the story of Bauby, the editor of the French magazine Elle, who was left with locked-in syndrome after he had a massive stroke in 1995, at the age of 43 years. Bauby was aphasic and largely paralysed except for having motor control over his left eyelid. (One of the fi lm’s fi rst and most excruciating scenes shows the surgical closure of his right eye, amid his desperate, unheard cries against the procedure.) A hospital therapist devised a system in which she spoke the letters of the alphabet in order of the frequency of their use. Bauby blinked when she sp...