Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Video review: "Ida"

What if everything you thought you knew about yourself turned out not to be true? That’s the premise of “Ida,” a spare Polish drama set in 1960.

Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a prim young woman about to take her vows as a nun. But the mother superior insists that Anna, an orphan, visit with her only living family member before committing to a life wearing a habit.

The relative, an aunt named Wanda (Agata Kulesza) who has refused all contact with her, is a bitter drunk who sleeps around prodigiously and wallows in her glory days as a prosecutor for the communist insurgency that now rules the land. She reveals to Anna that she is actually Jewish, her real name is Ida, and her family was murdered by locals as an appeasement to the Nazis.

They spend the next few days riding back to their roots, talking to people and trying to reveal the truth.

Trzebuchowska is a luminous presence, a seemingly meek woman who has deep reserves of boldness and curiosity. During her journey she finds out much about the world, and questions her place in it.

Shot in stark, hauntingly lovely black-and-white by director Pawel Pawlikowski and crew, “Ida” is sad and beautiful cinema.

Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurettes, on the set interviews and a Q&A with Pawlikowski and Sara Freeman.



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