Set in post-holocaust Poland, Ida depicts the ripples of the past through its silent, still and hauntingly beautiful use of cinema.
The story begins in a convent with Anna, an orphaned quiet young devout nun knowing almost nothing outside of her world in the convent, about to take her vows when her superior informs her to visit her aunt Wanda. Anna gently knocks on Wanda’s door and we are introduced to her naked environment inundated with the fog of cigarettes, glasses of alcohol and a man about to leave. Wanda, a judge and a member of the communist party, sternly lets Anna know her real name is Ida Lebenstein and is a Jew, or rather a “Jew nun”. We find out Ida’s parents died during the Nazi occupation of Poland in WWII and that Ida was raised in the convent. This sparks a journey both embark upon to find where Ida’s parents and Wanda’s sister had been buried.
Given the seemingly plot heavy story, Ida is anything but. Ida is crafted very meticulously such that the themes and story are implicit. Sort of like the brief moment just before you go in for a kiss, but the whole way through. Shot through glimpses and mostly when the main subject of the scene is not entirely salient, you’re almost peering into a story you know everything and nothing about. Yet these peepholes are beyond cinematic standards which evoke lasting emotions and transfix every eye.
(SPOILER) The journey takes both characters through heavy development progressions where suicide is the finality of Wanda and where Ida “tries out the sins”. However, the part that still puzzles me is that Ida is offered a “normal” life (with the marriage and dog and such) which I thought she would accept and hurdle through to a new stage in her life, yet Ida quietly refuses and returns to the convent. I think Ida accepts her life in the convent and takes on the closure the journey provided, though this is entirely up to you. Pawel Pawlikowski went on to direct Cold War in 2018 which I too would highly recommend.
director PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI
director of photography RYSZARD LENCZEWSKI
cast AGATA TRZEBUCHOWSKA, AGATA KULESZA, JOANNA KULIG, DAWID OGRODNIK and ADAM SZYSZKOWSKI
words RAYHAN RAFIQUE
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