Like a Butterfly (Jak Motyl)



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About Film

A documentary film by Ewa Pieta.

Przemek was born with severe physical handicaps, a quadriplegic since birth who is unable to control the movements of his arms and legs, and is also unable to speak. Until he was six he believed that he was the same as everyone else and that his mother understood the screeches which he considered to be his speech. The boy grew and matured, but everybody considered him stupid. Przemek began to lose hope that his intelligence would ever be discovered. To make matters worse, when he was eight years old, his mother – afflicted with a serious back problem – put him in a nursery home. Przemek stayed there for another eight years, presumed to be a “vegetable”.

Przemek’s body was like a shell holding him captive. Gradually Przemek realized that nobody had any idea that mentally he was completely healthy. He tried to make contact by batting his eyelids – once for “yes”, twice for “no”, but it was no use.

“No one saw me as a normal person. No one understood my winking. Everyone thought that I was an imbecile. I felt like I was buried alive,” Przemek relates. His struggle looked hopeless.

Finally a miracle happened. Accidentally, a therapist discovered Przemek’s signaling and the boy’s life took a new turn. At the age of sixteen he began to learn BLISS, a system of pictorial symbols which enabled him to communicate with those around him for the first time. Although Przemek cannot speak, he now writes poems and songs and “shows how beautiful it is to live, despite or because of his handicap.”

This reflective picture, blink-narrated by Przemek himself, includes moving scenes from his everyday life. It tells what he went through over those sixteen years of silence and solitude. There is the touching scene of his swearing-in as a scout, the complex process of poem-writing, as well as flashes of everyday life in the nursery home. At the conclusion comes a song composed by a young musician to Przemek’s poem.

About the Director

ewapietaEwa Pieta, a director of this film was born in Warsaw. She graduated from the Warsaw University at the Polish Philology Department, from Screenplay Department at the Polish Film School in Lodz and from Film Directing Department at the Silesia University in Katowice, named after Krzysztof Kieslowski. Her film titles include: Jane Sweet Jane, A Doggie, The Girl from the Poster (Dziewczyna z plakatu) and Like a Butterfly (Jak motyl).


Written & Directed by:
Ewa Pieta

Produced by:
Miroslaw Grubek / MG Production

Alex Pavlovic

Bartek Wozniak & Wojciech Slusarz

Michal Lorenc

Miroslaw Grubek

Online Editing:
Dariusz Ksionek

the song
Performed by

Special Thanks:
Andrzeja Winiarskiego, Doroty Zebrowskiej, Wieslawy Plochockiej, Jolanty Marszyckiej – Sucheckiej, Joanny Kotlarskiej, Wieslawy Kazimierowicz, Michala Rusniaka, Agnieszki Swistak, Darii Wisniewskiej, Norberta Kajzera, ks. Romualda Kaminskiego, Anny Andrzejczak, Magdaleny Baginskiej & Pracownikow Domu Pomocy Spolecznej „Na Przedwiosniu” w Miedzylesiu

Screenings and Awards


• Bay Street Film Festival, Canada – 2005

• One World International Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic – 2005

• INPUT, San Francisco, USA – 2005

• Documenta Madrid, Madrid, Spain – 2005

• Zolotoy Vityaz, Chelyabinsk, Russia

• Romadocfest, Roma, Italy – 2005

• Film Festival Pärnu, Parnu, Estonia – 2005

• 16th Ankara International Film Festival, Ankara, Turkey – 2005

• Prowincjonalia, Wrzesnia, Poland – 2005

• PRIX EUROPA, Berlin, Germany – 2004

• Vilnius Film Festival, Lithuania – 2004

• Chicago Film Festival, United States – 2004

• Film Festival Antalya, Turkey – 2004

• GZDOC, Guangzhou, China – 2004


• 1st Prize (Short Documentary), “Breaking Down Barriers”, Moscow, Russia – 2004

• 1st Prize (Documentary), Siena, Italy – 2004

• Prize of the International Jury, EKOTOPFILM, Bratislava, Slovakia – 2004

• 2nd Prize & SIGNIS Prize, Niepokalanow, Poland – 2004

• Special Mention, Malescorto, Italy – 2004

• 3rd Prize, ETNOFILM, Cadca, Slovakia – 2004

• 1st Prize & Special Prize of the Jury, Oczy Otwarte, Warsaw, Poland – 2004

• Prize of Ava Studio, Czlowiek w zagrozeniu, Lodz, Poland – 2004

• Silver Plaque, The Hugo Awards, Chicago, USA – 2005

• Gold Smofi & Special Mention, SMOFI, Kracow, Poland – 2005

• Pize for Documentary, Picture This, Calgary, Canada – 2005

• Bronze Diploma, 4th Int’l Documentary Festival, Stockholm, Sweden – 2005

Broadcast History

• Planete Poland – 2007

• TVP (Polish Television Channel I) – 2004 and 2006

Reviews and Reactions

Coming soon