Ida (12a)

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 3rd October 2014

Review by Colin Serjent

This black and white masterpiece, set in 1960s Poland, looks like a classic film produced in the 1940s or so.

Agata Trzebuchowska, making her film debut, plays Ida, a novice nun who is due to take her holy vows. Before doing so she is sent to spend time with her aunt Wanda, her only living relative, impressively played by Agata Kulesza.

Wanda, a Jew, is the polar opposite of Ida. She has an insatiable appetite for men, alcohol and cigs, but they soon develop a close kinship.

She was a former state prosecutor during the Stalinist regime, who confides to Ida that she sentenced some people to the death penalty.

Ida's main objective while staying with her aunt is to discover where her parents, victims of the Stalinist bloodletting, are buried.

One intriguing aspect of the film is the manner in which director Pawel Pawlikowski constantly places his characters at the bottom of the frame. As a result of this sometimes the subtitles appear at the top of the frame which I have never seen before. Some have suggested that this method is to relegate the players in the film to a secondary role to the epic drama and tragedy that took place. Intriguing.

Highly recommended

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