Polish with English subtitles, 2013, 80 minutes, b/w, Poland
Pawel Pawlikowski’s acclaimed career includes both documentary work and features, among them Last Resort and My Summer of Love. But the award-winning Ida, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, is the first film he’s made in his native Poland.
Anna, an orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to take her vows when she’s sent to visit Wanda, her aunt and only living relative. A cynical, hard-drinking Communist Party judge, Wanda reveals that Anna’s real name is Ida and that her parents were Jews murdered during the Nazi occupation. So the two embark on an unusual journey through the wintry countryside to unearth their family’s dark history.
An astonishing work, both graceful and haunting, the film’s beautiful black-and-white imagery is so artfully composed that every frame belongs in an exhibition. The setting—a somber, 1960s Poland—suggests an austere combination of Catholicism, Communism, and the Holocaust, but Ida is vibrant and intimate, a subtle portrait of two fascinating, contrasting women: the sheltered Ida, who is exploring her faith, and Wanda, who—having seen the worst of humanity—has no faith left.
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Screenwriters: Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Producers: Eric Abraham, Piotr Dzięcioł, Ewa Puszczyńska, Christian Falkenberg Husum
Cinematographers: Łukasz Żal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Production Designers: Katarzyna Sobańska, Marcel Sławiński
Editor: Jarosław Kamiński
Costume Design: Aleksandra Staszko
Music: Kristian Selin Eidnes Andersen
Principal Cast: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik