Ida

Poland – drama – M – 80 mins
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Writers: Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, 1 more credit »
Stars: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik

From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski comes Ida, a moving and intimate drama about a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland. 18-year old Anna, a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to take her vows when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda, a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider and former prosecutor, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heartwrenching journey by the two superbly evoked opposites, into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past. Ida is powerfully written, brilliantly directed, and eloquently shot in luminescent black and white. A beautiful, intimate, apparently simple story and by the end quite profound.

3 Responses to Ida

  1. siteManager October 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    While French artsy-critic magazine “telerama” gave it an ecstatic review, there is one thing I wasn’t prepared for: the quality of the images. Set in an almost-but-not-quite faded black and white, of about completely square format, I was sure the movie, set and shot in Poland, was using some obscure last reels of some obscure special negatives, developed in a forgotten cold-war era lab… Well, according to the credits, that was all digital, from start to finish. All the haters of DDD processes out there (I’m one of them), we can now be assured the modern film-maker has today the ability to really work on grain, under-exposure, blurred shadows and all that; Wiene, Murneau, Dreyer, Eisenstein and Lang be damned.

  2. siteManager October 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    Ida is magnificent, it will stay with me a long time. The narrative is powerfully compelling and yet if it had been a non-narrative film I would have been spellbound by the images alone. They should make a coffee table book of stills from it. Huge emotional issues are dealt with in a remarkably understated, unsentimental, but appropriate way. The use of music (often my pet peeve in these days of Hollywood formula) is enlightened and illustrative. I don’t think the ending is ambiguous, I’m not sure the writer who wrote that understood it.

  3. Jess & Michael November 26, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    I found the film beautiful and haunting and addressed the most profound question of all – the meaning of life (the other being why do we suffer and die of course). Ida had the opportunity which her wise abbess insisted upon to go back out to the “real world” and have life experiences before she took her vows. She lived everything in that time – suffering of her aunt who worked for an ideal that turned out to be untrue, the sinfulness and depravity of humans and how they behaved in the Holocaust, but also love with a good person, joy of music and sex. And when her lover painted their future together of marital bliss and family she chose a life of contemplation and inner exploration. Lots to think about in a seemingly simple and straightforward story. Haunting images – stay with you.

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