DN last caught up with Director Mattis Ohana Goksøyr at the end of last year with his exploration into the prejudice attached to tied cultural baggage short Safiyyah. Now, he’s welcomed back to our pages for another equally reflective film in the form of drama Good Luck, a film that centres around the aftermath of a drunken evening between a group of friends where intentions were blurred and lines were crossed. This is a piece of cinema not to be spoiled before watching as its events, and the means by which they play out, are crucial to its explorative and debatable nature. It’s a film designed to provoke discussion through its lack of answers which Goksøyr cleverly presents through grounded, realistic performances and an almost nonchalant overall tone. DN is excited to present the premiere of Good Luck below alongside an interview with Goksøyr who takes us inside the film’s deliberate construction, revealing the importance of tactical camerawork in relaying crucial information for the audience to grapple with.
I’m curious to know if Good Luck began around the same time important questions surrounding consent rose to prominence in society?
The development of the short film Good Luck started back in 2019. With the #MeToo movement, norms and unwritten rules were shifted, and important discussions arose. Here in Norway, there is still an ongoing debate about whether or not we should have a “consent law”, a testament to how relevant and important this topic still is.
How did you want your film to confront those issues? And what did you do to make sure you presented them in a considered and understanding way?
With the film Good Luck, I wanted to take a close look at sexual boundaries between people, but to do it through a humorous lens, where misunderstandings and expectations of gender roles are central. The script was carefully written, and I spent a long time weighing the misunderstandings that arise against what the audience thinks they know along the way. My goal was that the pre-conceived notions the audiences bring with them into the cinema would help shape their view of what the film is expressing and what character they might end up siding with. Hopefully, that will spark important discussions between audience members after the screenings.
The camera plays such a key role in giving the audience the information they need to disseminate the core debate of the film. How did you look to present that through the cinematography?
We used an Alexa Mini for this production with Coke Anamorphic lenses. The film’s opening scene, shot from a mysterious ‘god’s eye view’ angle, is meant to give reference to the classic crime-thriller genre, cluing the audience into that something bad is going to happen to this group, without telling them exactly what. That also goes for the long tracking shots that follow. The film then gradually shifts tone and genre, moving towards a sort of light form of farce, where the pace picks up speed and the dialogue quickens.
My goal was that the pre-conceived notions the audiences bring with them into the cinema would help shape their view of what the film is expressing and what character they might end up siding with.
How long did it take to shape everything and then bring the film together?
It took around six months from writing it until the end of post-production. I started to write out the storyline beginning of fall 2019 and finished the film around April 2020.
What were you looking for from your actors in terms of their performances and conveying the nature of the events that transpire in the film?
The film portrays miscommunication and misunderstandings, which makes it a demanding film to play out. It was important to me that the miscommunication that the actors played out would feel realistic. Which, in turn, would result in a ‘blurry’ antagonist, hopefully forcing the audience to pick a side. Who the audience should be cheering for is meant to be left open-ended and for me, this was important because I wanted the film to feel neutral, in the sense that it would trigger discussions amongst the audience after the film. That’s why it was even more important with precise delivery of lines so that the film did not shift focus and lose its neutrality. This was a challenge throughout the process, and I hope we have achieved just that. I therefore encourage audiences to watch the film with others, and not alone, to see if it starts a conversation.
Could you talk about constructing that central scene between the couple which causes the debate amongst the friends, how did you delineate what you would show the audience in that scene?
Not to show the initial part of the sex scene was a way of communicating a feeling of her blackout to the audience. What happened and how did we end up here? Tension is built and we immediately understand that this will have consequences if not handled with care. And of course, the male fails to do just that.
How have you found the discussion surrounding the film so far? Have audiences responded to the film in the way you’d hope?
This film has only screened digitally during the pandemic, and therefore I haven’t got the chance to overhear responses from the audience after a screening as I normally do. It’s sad, but I do hope the film has resulted in a couple of interesting discussions out there.
What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
My next short film ARE YOU OK is already finished and premiered at the Encounters Film Festival earlier this year. This is an experimental short film, something completely different from Good Luck. Other than that I am pitching a TV-series concept to different Norwegian broadcasters and we hope to land one season in the near future, but the competition is hard and everyone working as a creative creator knows that a sudden rejection is something you need to be prepared for. My next short film has no title yet, but it is a short sad love story with a twist in the end.