The Dress Duo Shines Light On Issues Of Exclusion And Hopes For A World Of Respect Contenders Film: The Nominees

From the Warsaw Film School, Tadeusz Łysiak’s The Dress is nominated in the Live Action Short category at the Oscars. A poignant story about the desire for love and intimacy, it stars Anna Dzieduszycka as Julka, a short-statured woman who struggles with social rejection because of her appearance.

The film is just Lysiak’s second and was a student project, made, he says, “to pass an exam,” thus lending a “surreal” quality to being on the road to the Oscars.

How did he land on this subject? At the school, he explained, “they teach us to ask ourselves what bothers us with the world, what do we want to change in the world, what is there to repair, what are the subjects that are important to us as young people in general.”

He came together with Dzieduszycka, who shared stories from her own life, making The Dress a true collaboration. This is the actress’ first leading role and, she said, “the first time I’ve dealt with such serious topics.”

Dzieduszycka’s character suffers bullying and sexual violence, and the actress noted, “We wanted in this story to draw the attention of the audience to this very important topic. Over 40% of people with disabilities across the world experience physical and sexual violence and this is something that we do not talk about it, it’s kept under wraps — life is not a fairy tale.”

She added: “I was kind of an icon, so to speak, that could show to everyone that the world is full of many wonderful people. We thought this would be a good opportunity to show this whole issue of exclusion, how we treat one another. It was also about debunking various stereotypes that we deal with.”

Said Łysiak, “For me, loneliness is the number one disease of the 21st century.” He also calls out a culture that has glorified the idea of “so-called ideal beauty,” adding, “It’s really wrong… Let’s not chase this goal that was forced upon us by society and let’s look at ourselves only in terms of our character, our personality. I really hope that someday we’re going to live in a world where everything is perfect and beautiful, and we treat each other with respect.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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