A film by Pawel Pawlikowski
Year ; 2013 / Country : Poland
Black & White / Run time : 83 minutes
19th July 2015 / 5.45pm
Perks Mini Theater
Set in the Poland of 1962 and composed of austerely gorgeous black and white images, Pawel Pawlikowski’s "Ida" could fit right into the "Masterpieces" series. Main protagonist Anna (Agata Trzebokowska) is an 18-year-old orphan who was raised in that convent.
When she is preparing to take her vows, her Mother Superior insists that first she meet her one known relative. That is an aunt, Wanda (Agneta Kulesza), a former prosecutor with a high Communist Party rank whose dissolute life of smoking, drinking and bedding men stands in stark contrast to the ascetic existence of her sheltered niece.
Aunt Wanda tells her that her real name is Ida (pronounced Eeda), that she is Jewish and that her parents were killed during World War II. Aunt and niece drive back to the village of Anna’s parents in an effort to discover how they died and where they were buried. Although this quest is central to the narrative, "Ida" is anything but plot-driven. It’s a film of moments, observations and moods.
Few recent films can claim a visual approach as striking as that which cinematographers Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski give "Ida." Filmed in the unusual, boxy aspect ratio of 1.37:1, and most often deployed in static long shots, the film’s images sometimes suggest Vermeer lighting with the color taken away, and the compositions manage to seem at once classical and off-handed, with the subjects often located in the screen’s two bottom quadrants. The effect is to draw the viewer’s eye into the beauty of the image while simultaneously maintaining a contemplative distance from the drama.
Ida, starting as a woman of unquestioned faith is forced by circumstances to embrace the complexity of who she is, and the question of the film is not whether this knowledge will change her but how and how much. There are no easy answers to the riddles life poses, none at all.
A literature and philosophy graduate, with extensive post-graduate work at Oxford on German literature, Polish-born Pawel Pawlikowski started as a documentary filmmaker in British television. His second feature, Last Resort (2000), earned him international critical acclaim at numerous festivals, including Toronto and Sundance, and won the 2001 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for "Most Promising Newcomer in British Film." His next film, My Summer Of Love (2004), won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards in 2005.
In 2011, he wrote and directed a film loosely adapted from Douglas Kennedy's novel The Woman in the Fifth. On 19 October 2013, his film Ida (starring Agata Kulesza) won the Best Film Award at the London Film Festival. "Ida" won the 2015 Academy Award for Foreign Language Film on February 23, 2015.