Ida (2013, Pawel Pawlikowski)

Posted: July 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I can’t remember the last time I saw a Polish film in color. No complaints, though. Especially not with Ida, a film of such emotional intensity in its quiet seriousness that one is reminded of Kieslowski and Fellini all at once. The beauty of the cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, it emphasizes the bleak, desperate yet playful mood and atmosphere emerging around two women in Poland in the sixties. Anna is a young Catholic nun, raised in an orphanage and about to take her wows when she meets Wanda, her long lost aunt, former Communist activist, now a judge with the allures of an existentially tormented libertine. The two set out to uncover a dark family secret which will change both of their lives and make them reconsider who they are. There is something unique and exquisite in the way the “usual” Jewish family drama unfolds. There are no big words; no loud accusations from the victims and no remorse from the perpetrators. All is just so matter-of-fact that one hardly even notices when the sadness creeps up and starts taking over, presenting a quiet, calm argument to which no counter-argument is possible. But the best part is Anna’s face through all this and her gradual blossoming into a strong(er) woman, acting and deciding her own fate in full knowledge of who she is and what she is renouncing when renouncing the world. There is closure for Wanda too, one that comes as natural as her movements when putting on a Mozart vinyl and opening the windows…
Ida stars two amazing actresses, Agata Kulesza and Agata Trzebuchowska, and was directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, a literature and philosophy graduate who no doubt deserves more attention now that he has found his true artistic voice in his native language (his previous attempts in Enlish were by far not as memorable as this one).

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