DVD Review: ‘Ida’ searches for secrets that must be told

Devon Fleck, Staff Writer

Sometimes the past is best left in the past. However, some secrets should be known. In the movie “Ida,” which won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and was directed by Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, two characters are brought together to discover their family’s past and a dark truth that ends up taking a life in the end.

Before making her vows to God, Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), also known as Ida, must meet her only living relative: her drinking, chain-smoking aunt Wanda. Initially, Wanda (Agata Kulesza) isn’t very inviting to Anna. However, the two grow a close as they go on a quest to discover what happened to the bodies of Anna’s parents.

During this journey, Anna also discovers her true identity. While Anna travels away from her convent, she gets a taste of the outside world. On this quest, she still practices her beliefs; however, she is being pulled in the opposite direction.

Anna and Wanda have different personalities and beliefs. While Wanda smokes, drinks, and has her way with many men, Ida is practicing to be a nun. Wanda has a strong personality, since she is a judge and used to be state prosecutor. Her personality helps lead the way to finding the answers to what happened to Anna’s parents. Anna is quiet and shy; she is often seen looking down at the ground. Her caring attitude allows her to comfort her aunt. The two balance each other.

Ida’s aunt influences her in both good and bad ways. In the end, Ida experiences the activities that her aunt enjoys, such as drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Ida is also able to come out of her comfort zone, yet at the same time these experiences makes her question her faith when it is time to give her vows.

“Ida” is set in the 1960s, so the costumes, hairstyles, cars, and buildings are all set in that time period. This gives an authentic feeling to the film. Wanda often wears dark colors, while Anna wears lighter colors, perhaps symbolizing good and bad. Anna is seen wearing her headwear, since she is practicing to be a nun. This head piece allows her to seem more innocent. The setting of the film is located in Poland in small towns and roads. Since the movie is foreign, there are English subtitles.

The cinematography of the film is great. The movie is filmed in black and white, which shows that things in life are also black and white. Scenes from the movie create impactful images. In one scene, Ida is seen standing under a doorway, with a cross hungover the doorway. This could symbolize her past and her present, and she is stuck in the middle. As Ida and her aunt Wanda travel, they drive through two crossroads, which show the transition of their lives.

This movie is worth the time to watch because it easily holds the attention of the audience with its cinematography and acting. However, the audience should be mature due to the film’s sensitive topics. This movie leaves viewers pondering their life choices and what might have caused them to make those life choices.

Our Grade: A
Rated: PG-13
Length: 82 minutes
Genre: Drama
Directed by: Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik