- Directed by: Pawel Pawlikowski
- POLAND, 2013, 80 minutes
- In Polish with English subtitles
Set in 1960s communist Poland and shot in stunningly beautiful black and white in the almost-square frame of classic cinema, IDA draws out a richness and complexity of emotion that is not easily wrung from stark landscapes and somber unchanging faces. Young Anna is told to leave her convent and visit her last remaining relative, her mother’s sister, before taking her final vows. Aunt Wanda, a hard-drinking Communist Party judge who has lost any vestiges of faith (and perhaps even the ability to find pleasure in her many diversions), informs Anna of her Jewish heritage; her true name, Ida; and of her parents’ murder during the Nazi occupation. The two women embark on a journey into the wintry countryside to find the parents’ unmarked graves and make plenty of enemies along the way, as dark secrets are unearthed. While Aunt Wanda's vices lead her to lose her grip, Ida observes but is hesitant to participate in life outside the church. An astonishing work that is graceful, haunting, and even shocking at times, the masterful IDA is surely one of the most powerful films of the year.