LIFE FEELS GOOD: The Enduring Power of the Human Spirit

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LIFEFEELSGOOD3 A true story about a young man suffering from cerebral palsy who struggles to communicate with those around him that he is an intelligent and conscious human being—and the institutional fallacies that treat mental disorders—provide the inspiration for Polish writer-director Maciej Pieprzyca’s award-winning film Life Feels Good (Chce się żyć).  Set in the late ’70s and early ’80s Poland, a cultural climate rife with discrimination, Pieprzyca places the character of Mateusz squarely at his story’s center, serving compelling evidence as to the endurance of the human spirit. Simultaneously heartbreaking and humorous, we feel how tortuous being trapped inside yourself would be, and how damning the surrounding world can be, as Mateusz fights hard to communicate with those around him to prove that he is an intelligent and conscious human being. lifefeelsgoodstrip As a boy (Kamil Tkacz), Mateusz devises a remarkably autonomous method of moving around the apartment, lying on his back and flailing his arms to propel himself backward during his relatively happy childhood. His social instruction is gained by observing neighbors from his window, and while his mother (Dorota Kolak) wheels him around indulging him with love and laughter, it is his quirky father (Arkadiusz Jakubik) who provides Mateusz with an endless flow of cosmic knowledge, which serves to fuel his imagination. LIFEFEELSGOOD4 As he grows into a man, Mateusz’s (David Ogrodnik) attempts to influence the world around him seem to continuously backfire, as he meets endless challenges head-on with soul-stirring determination. Mateusz’s erratic movements and unintelligible sounds register less as symptoms of his illness and more as a language that most simply lack the inventiveness to interpret. A breakthrough occurs after Mateusz joins forces with a teacher of Bliss language, a popular method that serves to engender nonverbal communication, and their collaboration revolutionizes Mateusz’s life. Life Feels Good will have its Florida Premiere at MiamiFF’s mid-season mini festival, MIFFecito, on Sunday, October 19 at 6 PM, at Tower Theater. A reception will follow for all ticket holders at 8 PM; sponsored by The American Institute of Polish Culture and The Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Poland. Visit or call 1-844-565-6433 (MIFF) for tickets.  —Tatyana Chiocchetti

Jaie Laplante

Jaie Laplante is the Miami Film Festival's executive director and director of programming. Learn more about Jaie on Programmers.