Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Ida": a simple film from Poland about a woman entering a convent, and her effect on her aunt

Ida”, directed by Pawel Pawilkowski, is a little black and white movie from Poland (and Denmark) in old 4:3 aspect ratio, and rather simple images.  In fact, life in Communist Poland in 1962 offers more than one would expect.  People have cars, farmland, fixer houses, and go to jute boxes and nightclubs.  Wanda (Agata Kulesza) is a middle aged woman, a respected judge, with a loose life style and dark secrets.   Her niece, Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to take her vows in a convent where life is very plain.  The mother superior insists that Anna get to know her only known relative first.

Anna’s appearance is disruptive to Wanda, who must explore their hidden Jewish background to find out what happened to Anna’s parents during the Holocaust. Anna will come into contact with the idea of life outside poverty.  But this will be a lot for Wanda to take, maybe too much.

The characters play music from the Mozart Jupiter Symphony (41), on an old record player with a heavy tracking arm.  That work was important to me in 1962, as I often played Bruno Walter’s recording.  I saw the work as life-giving, but maybe it isn’t here.  Other music, including some Bach and the Soviet anthem, come into play. 

The official site is here from Music Box Films.


I saw the 80-minute film at the AMC Shirlington, early show Wednesday night, before a sparse audience. 

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