Ida is a gentle and moving drama which will challenge any viewer’s emotional capacity. Pawel Pawlikowski does a fantastic job of capturing every character aspect and times the film to perfection.
Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is raised in the convent and is preparing to become a nun. Before taking her vows she is told by the Mother Superior that she should go and visit Wanda, her aunt and only known relative who is still living. A smooth transition slowly begins for Anna as she moves away from the comfort of a routine life into one which is not so accommodating.
This begins with Wanda (Agata Kulesza) opening the door with a cold welcome. She is not warm and inviting like you’d expect a relative who hasn’t seen you in years to be. Instead there is smoke in the air and drinks for one. In one of the most emotionless, direct ways possible Wanda tells Anna that her real name is Ida Lebenstein and her heritage is Jewish.
So begins the two women in their journeys towards renewal. It is a pilgrimage which completely changes the way they both look at each other. Although incredibly different I wouldn’t have wanted to see it any other way. When they return to the small countryside village of their lives before the war there is a timely reminder for all audiences into the austerity which a universal war creates.
Filming in black and white certainly provided a more accurate portrayal of how bleak and ruined Poland was. There is something far more chilling about a reel of post war footage in dark, murky shades of grey. It serves as a reminder that post World War Two Europe lacked a lot of the colour and joy which many people born in the last 25 years have been very lucky not to experience.
I can see this film becoming a classic. When you are challenged emotionally by a film and forced to explore your own character then you know something incredibly special has just been played out in front of you.