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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Autumn 2014

Ida (2013) movie review

It's Not Black and White

In wintry Poland a young girl (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to take her vows as a Catholic nun. Her mother superior sends her to visit her aunt (Agata Kulesza), a woman who left her in an orphanage instead of raising her.Her mother superior sends her to visit her aunt (Agata Kulesza), a woman who left her in an orphanage instead of raising her.

The girl discovers that she was originally a Jewish girl named Ida, and that her parents were killed and the location of their bodies unknown.

And so begins a journey as the two women return to the family farm, now in other hands, seeking someone who might know where their family's bones are.

Movie poster, Ida, Festivale film review; 220x326

Movie poster, Ida

This story is told in Polish, with English subtitles, and in black-and-white. What is most disconcerting is the cinematography, which plays with the composition, presumably to add meaning, but often to distract the viewer. Faces are cropped off at the nose, figures are relegated to the far bottom of the screen, and the result is to stop the viewer watching the action and instead cause them to question the photography.

So, this is story-telling -- the aftermath of racial/religious persecution and a country in turmoil. This can't be called entertaining, and it didn't, for your humble reviewer, reach emotionally gripping. The story is told dispassionately, and sometimes passion is what's needed to reach the audience.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 2013
For credits and official site details, see below
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Just the facts:

Title: Ida (2013)
Written by: Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Directed by: Pawel Pawlikowski
Running time: 80 min

The Players: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza

Official website:
IMDb entry

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