The Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski grabbed attention at the beginning of the last decade with two brilliant and intensely English pictures: Last Resort and My Summer of Love. Now he has returned with an arresting period movie from the heart of post-war Poland – and from his own heart, too. Every moment of Ida feels intensely personal. It is a small gem, tender and bleak, funny and sad, superbly photographed in luminous monochrome.
Newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska plays Anna, a novice nun about to take her final vows in a convent where she was left on the doorstep as a baby in 1945. But Anna has one surviving relative with whom she is encouraged to make contact. This turns out to be her aunt, Wanda Gruz, tremendously played by Agata Kulesza: a worldly, hard-drinking woman who lives on her own. Wanda reveals the truth to her niece: Anna’s first name is Ida and she is Jewish. Now Ida and Wanda must set out to discover what happened to Ida’s parents during the war. In a very short time, Pawlikowski’s film tells us a powerful, poignant story with fine, intelligent performances from Kulesza and Trzebuchowska.
‘richly sympathetic and deeply moving’
Winner, Best Film, BFI London International Film Festival
Winner, Grand Prix, Warsaw Film Festival