Starring: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Running Time: 82 mins
Ida is a Polish film about a young woman, brought up since birth in a convent, who is told to go and find out what happened to her parents during the Nazi occupation in World War Two before she commits to taking her vows.
This is a very interesting, well-put together film. Its plot is a combination of a historical story as well as a personal story, not just one of finding out what happened in the past, but also one of finding yourself, which I was thoroughly intrigued by. There are two very strong performances in this film too, as well as great directing and cinematography.
However, this film does suffer due to the fact that it’s incredibly slow-paced, and very quiet at the same time, which means that it’s pretty easy for your mind to wander, and that lapse of concentration can mean that you become a little less interested in the overall atmosphere of the film.
One of the main showings of that is the fact that the main story about this young woman trying to find her parents is not as atmospheric and heavy-going as I thought it should be. It’s not just meant to be emotional for the main character, but also a harrowing demonstration of the physical and social brutality towards the Polish Jews during the Nazi occupation, however I was never really hit so hard by this film’s supposedly haunting atmosphere due to often losing full intrigue when it got too slow.
Despite that, this film shows two other very interesting stories away from the central plot. One of them is the blossoming relationship between this young woman, a very quiet and sensible nun, and her often drunkard and cynical aunt who go on this journey together. This is particularly interesting because it shows a great degree of tension between the two, however their familial bond is so strong that they stay close, but that slight tension is really interesting.
The other story, and the most intriguing one, is this young woman’s journey to finding herself. From the beginning of the film, we see clearly that she’s not perfectly suited to being a nun, and during her time on the outside of the convent, she discovers so much that changes her so much to the extent that she questions her entire faith and purpose in life, which I found fascinating.
Technically, I was also pretty impressed by this film. Shot very appropriately in black-and-white and old-school 4:3 aspect ratio, it really looks like a film that suits its time period, whilst some really weird cinematographic techniques in which the characters are often positioned right at the bottom of a shot, and most of the frame is filled with the sky or the ceiling, which I didn’t really get, but found it pretty cool and different nonetheless.
Overall, this gets a 7.4, because despite being very slow-paced, and often hard to concentrate on, it’s a well-made film with a very interesting story.