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Film Review: Ida


A story in black and white about all the colours of life: that is how I would describe “Ida”.

Pavel Pawlikowski, a Polish-British director, explains in an interview that the way he worked on the “Ida” script was completely atypical and that he changed it during the shootings, either by complicating the plot or by simplifying it many times, before the final result.

Agata Trzebuchowska is absolutely divine in the role of Anna, a young novitiate nun who is on the verge of making her final vows to the Catholic Church. It is when she is finally told that she had been abandoned by her aunt, the only family she had had left and that she is a … Jew.

She is advised to go and seek out her Aunt Wanda, to try to bond with her past and her origins. When she finally arrives at her aunt’s she realizes that her having family left alive and being a Jew was not the dark secret that had been waiting for her, behind the walls of the monastery where she had only known peace, happiness and love.

The niece and the aunt, characters in complete antithesis, embark on a road trip to where Anna’s parents and Wanda’s son had been buried after being brutally murdered in a forest during the World War II.

There are elements of cool, chic, traditional, avant-garde, noir, romanticism, realism and an extreme force that carries these two characters throughout their journey.

Anna discovers all that she might have been missing behind the walls of the monastery and it seems that music is perhaps the most important. She tastes love, music, uninterrupted laughers, the idea that she could be doing everything without worrying about sinning.

The film is absolutely genius in how it reminds us again that the women feel the thoughts and over think all their feelings and the world surrounding them. They are so filled with sensitivity and candour that events always turn into a drama, and if that does not happen they will prefer to turn it into a beautiful drama against all odds.

I started writing this review before this weekend and without knowing that “Ida” would be awarded an Oscar for the best international film. Therefore, you now have plenty of reasons to go ahead and watch this beautifully sensitive film.

I shall end with a quote from Pavel Pawlikowski‘s speech at receiving his well deserved Oscar: “We made a film about the need for silence, withdrawal from the world and contemplation, and here we are at this happy centre of noise and attention.” Need I say more?

Wishing you a happy view!

Review by Otilia Galca

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