23 June 2014 | jadepietro
This film is recommended.
Anna grew up in a Catholic orphanage, never knowing her parents. Deeply religious, she is slated to become a nun within a few weeks. However, before taking her vows, Anna must leave the convent and visit her only living relative, a cold and distant aunt. Upon their first meeting, she is told that she is really Ida, a Jewish niece. So begins their relationship and journey to find her past and specifically, her parent's unmarked graves.
With an unusually short film length of less than 90 minutes, Ida is an extremely well made film, sensitively directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. Under the backdrop of 1960's Poland, the film's premise of presenting contrasting religions and lifestyles is its main attraction. The screenplay by the director and Rebecca Lenkiewicz has much to say and tells its linear narrative concisely and without any flourish. ￼ Ida is a fine film that could have been a great film had its script added more dimension to its central character. Anna, or Ida, is mainly a saintly conduit, a devout presence who never seems to be real in any sense. She begins as an enigma and, surprisingly, rarely displays any strong emotional reaction when confronted with disturbing news.
Agata Trzebuchowska plays Ida / Anna and she is physically right for the role. The actress invests the right degree of innocence and vulnerability. Even more effective is Agata Kulesza as Ida's bitter and alcoholic Aunt Wanda. Her role has far more depth and the actress makes subtle choices in underplaying the anger and hostility within her complex character. It is a strong and memorable performance.
The film, beautifully photographed by Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal, might have a smaller budget than most movies these days, but one never notices any lapse in quality as production values are of the highest caliber. With lovely black & white images and a lyrical score by Kristian Eidnes Andersen, Ida is superior filmmaking, even if some of the transitions and editing seems slightly abrupt. The film effectively deals with powerful themes that will resonate with any serious film-goer and deserves to be seen. GRADE: B
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