LIFE FEELS GOOD is about the life story of Mateusz that has cerebral palsy. In addition to his obvious physical handicap, he was diagnosed at a very early age as a mentally disabled person with no communicative ability. After twenty five years, however, it turned out that apart from his physical problems, he was a perfectly normal, even quite intelligent person. The film is a chronicle of his life. We get to know Mateusz now, when he is 30 and is institutionalized at a clinic for the mentally disabled. He is about to be examined by a committee which will decide whether he is normal or not. In retrospect we follow his life from the early 1980s to the present, in happy and sad times. We also get to know the love of his life, Anka.
Dawid Ogrodnik director LIFE FEELS GOOD was Born in 1986. In 2011 he graduated from Cracow Actors School. At Gdynia Film Festival Dawid was awarded as the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in YOU ARE GOD (2012) and in THE WORD (2014). In 2013 at the Gdynia Film Festival Dawid Ogrodnik was awarded Elle’s Cristal Star and in 2014 at the Seattle International Film Festival was awarded Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor for his role in LIFE FEELS GOOD
Bijan tehrani: Your part in LIFE FEELS GOOD is a very difficult part to play. What encouraged you to play Mateusz?
Dawid Ogrodnik: A faith and love encouraged me to play a role of Mateusz and please note that the courage is one of the most important elements of love. A responsibility for revealing truth about someone else’s life was another contributory.
BT: How did you learn about the character and its behavior? Mateusz is more of inner character and just some movement of his body and his eyes reveals what he may feel. What helped you to show all this so successfully?
DO: The Mateusz’s – a fiction character’s story was based on a Przemek’s life and earlier there was a documentary shot about it. Observation of him and his surroundings as well as the other people who did not live in an institution, mainly Szymon and Sebastian, was really inspiring, stimulating to start living a similar way and feel their world like them
BT: How did you work with director of the film? Did you have a lot of rehearsal sessions?
DO: Most of the scenes were drafted in an imagination, part of them were trained over. A deep analysis of the world and relations was helpful and let us avoid objectionable misunderstandings though, as I can imagine, from the director’s point of view it could have been quite a specific experience. The movie director- and DOP’s hard work made us feel like in a real world.
BT: Did you meet Mateusz in person and how much knowing him helped you to play his part?
DO: One of the very first things to get accustomed with in the world of the people suffering of a flaccid tetraplegia was a visit to the Miedzylesie care center in which Przemek lived those days. Mateusz, the movie’s hero is a cluster of several people. And his character is with no doubt a buckle of a complete movie. His behavior- and sensibility observation was a key opening the door to fully sense disablement through my own body and psychology.
BT: What was your impression after watching the finished film, did you feel satisfied or you thought there where issues that you may have done differently.
DO: As I have mentioned earlier, we were convinced that we observed a real world, it only was the director- and the DOP’s choice how to shoot it. And as it always used to be in life, I would probably do it quite differently if I’d have a chance to repeat it.
BT: You have played a young musician in IDA, please tell us about that character and your work with the director.
DO: In „Ida” by Pawel Pawlikowski I impersonated a character of Lis, a jazz musician. I believe that an essence of this character was a revelation that its individuality was limited to and strongly tied with a space of music. It was a world of hidden emotions and desires which just like the in the main heroine’s world, the world of religion, had a chance to meet each other. The director’s understanding of all the details and caring of them confirms his highest virtuosity. Meeting with the people like him will stay in my mind forever and I miss them.
BT: What do you think about Polish Film Los Angeles and it’s impact on
DO: I cannot tell much about the PFF in LA myself as this is going to be my first meeting with the LA audience and the people who were in charge for the Festival organization. What I am glad of, however, is that we nowadays have such an opportunity to share our work through screening the Polish movies abroad. And this helps us to develop ourselves, has an influence on a culture growth in our country. I want to pass my recognition to everyone who helped this Festival origin, thank you. My best regards and see you in LA.
LIFE FEELS GOOD (Chce sie zyc) (2013, 107 min)
2013 Chicago International Film Festival – Silver Hugo in New Directors Competition
2013 Montreal World Film Festival: Grand prix des Amreicas, Public Awards for the most popular film of the Festival, ECUMENICAL PRIZES
2013 Gdynia Film Festival: Silver Lions, Audience Award
Director – MACIEJ PIEPRZYCA
Screenplay – MACIEJ PIEPRZYCA
Cinematography – PAWEL DYLLUS
Muscic – BARTOSZ CHAJDECKI
Art Director – JOANNA ANASTAZJA WOJCIK
Producer – WIESLAW LYSAKOWSKI
Mateusz – DAWID OGRODNIK
Young Mateusz – KAMIL TKACZ
Mateusz’s Mother – DOROTA KOLAK
Mateusz’s Father – ARKADIUSS JAKUBIL
Matylda – HELENA SUJECKA
Tomek – MIKOLAJ ROZNERSKI
Young Tomek – TYMOTEUSZ MARCINIAK
Jola, Bliss Language Teacher – ANNA NEHREBECKA