Director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida is one of the most poignant films of the year and is sure to represent Poland as a top contender for Best Foreign Film.
The film traces the early ‘60s story of Ida, a young novice (Agata Trzebuchowska), who is a few weeks away from taking her vows to become a nun.
As a kindly gesture, perhaps to make sure Ida is ready, the Mother Superior (Halina Skoczynska) of the orphanage/convent in which Ida was raised sends her to meet her Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), who is her only remaining relative.
Wanda is an alcoholic judge, who, initially, rejects Ida after telling her she is really Jewish, but, then, relents and takes her on an excursion to find out where her parents and brother are buried.
The journey is full of gut-retching sadness and beautiful heroism as both women confront who they truly are.
Cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal have created amazing images in stark black & white and Editor Jaroslaw Kaminski has woven them into a haunting depiction of Pawlikowski’s and Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s script.
This is a film well worth seeing to understand not only Post-War Poland, but all the countries ravaged by Nazism.
I give Ida a 4+ out of 5.