Movie: the diving bell and the butterfly (2); the reality of relationships

April 10, 2008

Yesterday I posted some thoughts that were stirred by metaphors in the diving bell and the butterfly. However, the scene that had the greatest impact was something else. Juan-Do is editor of a fashion magazine, he has three children with one woman, who is basically his wife, although they never married, and he has a mistress. Before the stroke the mistress was the reason for a breakup between him and his wife, after the stroke, however, the mistress never came to visit, although his wife went through a lot of trouble to look after him.

At one stage his wife is visiting him, when the mistress calls. The only way that Juan-Do can talk back is if his wife translates his eye movements for her, although he can hear what the mistress is saying over the speaker phone. At the request of Juan-Do his wife leave the room so that the mistress can speak on her own. The mistress tell him how she wanted to visit him, but couldn’t get herself to see him in his state.

When the wife gets back, Juan-Do tell her, with his eye movements, to say: “Every day I wanted to see you” (or something like that). The pain that the wife feel is obvious, for some reason I also felt pain that Juan-Do must feel for having to say this through his wife.

I had a number of friends who went through these kind of relationship mess-ups, two people in a relationship, and then one of them decide to end the relationship and go into another one. It’s a very painful process for everyone involved, especially for the third person, the one that gets left behind. But there is also something normal in this process, there is something normal in being in a relationship, but needing a third person that force you to end a current relationship which whichever way you look at it anyhow couldn’t have worked.

I guess there is two things we need to notice in that scene. Juan-Do the bastard: how could he do this to his wife? But on the other hand his wife, which I think portrays the image of absolute love, almost stupid love, hurting herself because of her love for her husband. Now, I don’t think what Juan-Do did was good, actually, I think the message that is never put into words is that he was absolutely stupid to go for this other woman. That even now he must be stupid to want this woman, who doesn’t care nearly as much as his wife do, but I also see this happening with friends, saw it happening with myself a few years ago (obviously not in a married relationship).

I think it would help if we learn to see not only the bad things which the Juan-Do’s are doing in situations like these, but also the amazing love of the Juan-Do’s-wives. Noticing that somewhere, silently, there is someone who care, and sometimes it’s not so obvious to notice who this is, sometimes it might take the bad times to show us who really care.

Still, relationships end, and sometimes end in bad ways. The question we might wanna ask ourselves is rather what our role should be. Should we move on, should we still care, care simply for the sake of caring, sometimes knowing that even caring won’t fix a relationships, sometimes even being messanger for a new relationship, because this is what it would mean to care?

I think this is a clip that can be used with some success to point to the reality of relationships. To help those with pain because of situations like these to put there pain into words, to see the different roles that could be played.

3 Responses to “Movie: the diving bell and the butterfly (2); the reality of relationships”

  1. aventer Says:

    This post post was specially for me

    Dankie Cobus…jy weet ek waardeer alles wat jy vir my doen


  2. Cobus Says:


    sterkte vir jou stuff, en luister meer gereeld vir my:-)

  3. aventer Says:

    Ek gaan nog steeds nie gaan nie, maar ek luister meer gereeld as wat jy dink 🙂

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