Write descriptive essay about Ida movie 2013, write an essay of at least 500 words on Ida, 5 paragraph essay on Ida, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
UK, France, Poland, Denmark
IMDB rating:
Pawel Pawlikowski
Jerzy Trela as Szymon
Mariusz Jakus as Barman
Jan Wociech Poradowski as Father Andrew
Artur Janusiak as Policeman
Afrodyta Weselak as Marysia
Agata Kulesza as Wanda
Storyline: Poland, 1962. Anna, an orphan brought up by nuns in the convent, is a novice. She has to see Wanda, the only living relative, before she takes her vows. Wanda tells Anna about her Jewish roots. Both women start a journey not only to find their family's tragic story, but to see who they really are and where they belong. They question what they used to believe in.
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An Intense Film About Trauma, Betrayal, and Identity
Ida is a film I have thoroughly loved, and watched multiple times since it was released in the US a few years back. And after each time I view it, I discover something new from the film's subtle dialogue and symbolism(honestly, I think if I spoke Polish, I would have picked up on most of it after a viewing or two). Not only is it a great watch, adding a fresh perspective to the much covered topic of the Holocaust, but it, also, I believe, taps deeply into questions central to modern- day Polish national identity.

The film's main focus is the investigation and interactions of the titular character and her aunt, in search of the brutal truth of what happened to their family during World War 2. Both characters are total(almost comically) opposites, a stiff, virginal, young nun and an old, sarcastic, heavy-drinking, and promiscuous communist judge(dealing solely with political crimes), infamously nicknamed "Iron Wanda".

Their dichotomy is important in cordoning-off the two main themes the film explores through each character, the confrontation/void left by/effects of trauma(Aunt Wanda) and the search for/questioning of/choice of identity(Ida). Together, both characters discover the devastating truth, but, in doing so, make a deal that leaves them emotionally ruined(an ironic twist considering Wanda's profession and, most likely, her reason for choosing the job).

The stark black & white color palette, confrontational close-ups, off-centered scene-framing, and total lack of musical accompaniment magnifies the discomfort and underlying sense of societal betrayal/injustice. Oddly, what seems to be at the center of the story, the events surrounding the Holocaust, are hardly discussed, instead, filled with long silences and empty spaces, communicating feelings of shame and guilt. A seemingly cosmic silence in response to such a horrible crime.

What makes Ida unique is that it's a story filmed after the main drama has occurred, instead, focusing on its long-reaching impact. After coming full circle, learning the truth of her identity, and her parents past, both Ida and Wanda are left as weaker people, each imprisoned by a truth too difficult to confront.
Different Standpoints, One Story
Since many of the movies that touched the subject of the extermination of the Jews during the 1930s and 1940s appeared rather too general, epic proportion films, it seems that something like IDA by Pawel Pawlikowski is a wonderful chance to symbolize a modern approach to the material. It is one great DETAIL, a story of one character where "every moment feels intensely personal" (Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian). A very interesting protagonist tormented by suggestion, suspicion and indication. Yet, does the protagonist instill any understanding in us?

Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), or rather Ida Lebenstein, is a young 'nun' in the early 1960s Poland who has a chance to leave to the world just for a while before the time comes for the final vows. There, in the convent, within the context of the Benedictine maxim 'Ora Et Labora' (Pray and work) and the statue of the Merciful Jesus, we get to know our protagonist. A very fruitful theme that echoes many of the old Hollywood pictures, including NUN'S STORY. Yet, Anna's leave to the world does not have anything to do with a dilemma whether forgive or not nor with a sort of 'climb every mountain' attitude but she leaves in order to dig in the past, to find the grave of her roots, find out who she really is. In other words, she makes a dramatic discovery of her ancestry. But the help in that journey appears to be quite a sympathetic, earthly easy-going joys' Mary Magdalene-like character of Wanda (Agata Kulesza) and a young saxophonist (Dawid Ogrodnik) who introduces her to the joys of...carnal pleasures. Yes, indeed, she must know those pleasures in order to understand later what she actually resigns from by entering the convent. Jim O'Neill nicely puts it with reference to Ida's character that it is an altogether a "search for identity and truth in a world that suppressed both."

So far, it would make a perfect sense and a lovely inspiration for a drama if it were not for the problem of where the truth lies. Forgive me to become slightly ignorant now or politically incorrect but there is NO historical truth in this movie whatsoever. I am not one of those who blame the movie for being anti-Polish, not at all. While the convent aspect occurs to combine the Jewish world with the Catholic world quite successfully, the later story seems to draw even greater borderline between the Jewish nation and the Polish nation. It could have happened that there were some Polish people who killed the Jews while many many others risked their lives to save them. IDA does not do justice to the nation but, after all, the movie does not intend to do so. A little film can do little good but, at the same time, much evil. The problem lies in the fact that many viewers will be misled by what the argument revolves around. Why did they kill the Lebenstein family and buried them in the forest? Was it because of jealousy? Was it because of greed? (the son in one of the scenes says openly that he will show Ida and Wanda the spot where they are buried on the condition they resign from the property he lives in). Open for discussion and quite thought provoking...but for those who give themselves time and check some history, become intellectually involved not merely resorting to emotions. Others will simply resort to minimalism of the view of what allegedly happened in Poland. Here, as a Pole and Polish patriot I admit that I feel disappointed. More to say, the depiction of Poland is merely shards of old past, long forgotten and ruins. The spots Ida visits are either ruined filthy districts or totally neglected, primitive villages. Come on, that is not the way Poland looked like in the 1960s in spite of the fact that we were being poisoned by the red plague from the east.

But it would be unfair not to see the merits of the film. While many film scholars mention the intense portrayals of Ida and Wanda, I agree but...I would highlight the visual aspect more. Starting with the fact that the film is black and white (which Jim O'Neill labels as "images" looking like "vintage photographs") the camera-work is brilliant. Heavily influenced on cinema's long tradition and revealing certain features of even silent cinema and Expressionism (consider the shadows, the shots of staircase), it is an artistic picture, no doubt of that. I particularly liked the scenes at the convent that seem to grasp the specific atmosphere of the spiritually affected places. The delicacy of the love scene later in the movie also deserves credit. The classical music of Bach supplies the film with additional charm. And the characters?

Wanda and Ida seem to differ a lot from the very first meeting. While Ida is a totally inexperienced character who simply seeks to discover her own identity, Wanda is a woman with a past, a very very cruel past. As a state prosecutor and the one who sentenced many innocent people to death, she supplies the moments with either sarcastic irony or hardly believable metamorphosis. Inspired by the true historical character of Helena Wolinska-Brus, she leaves many questions unanswered. With her alcoholism and act of despair, she remains a rather character to be pitied and, more to say, compassionate. In that respect, I advise you to see GENERAL NIL. Yet, there is something that joins them: mutual Jewish ancestry. Both suffer and both occur innocent.

Relying on Peter Bradshaw's words that every moment in IDA is intensely personal, I recommend this film. From the standpoint of art and psychological torments, from the standpoint of one story, it is a captivating movie. Yet, we should not forget that there are also other standpoints, perhaps the ones that are not taken into account seriously bu surely the ones that cannot be ignored.
As Cold, Static & Depressing As Winters!
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at Oscars this year, Ida is an intimately crafted, patiently narrated & visually enticing tale about identity that's neither meant to nor going to work out for everyone. Its emotionally scarring content is sure to make many embrace it, but then its wintry ambiance is also capable of leaving many with a cold feeling towards it.

Set in Poland during the 1960s, Ida tells the story of its titular character who is a young novice nun planning to take her vows but is asked to visit her family before doing so. After meeting her only relative, she learns about her true heritage & embarks on a journey with her to find out about her parents, a journey that sheds light on their past & alters their future.

Directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, the most striking thing about Ida is its frame composition. The whole picture is a beautiful work of greyscale photography for each image is sharp, crisp & clear. Characters are wonderfully scripted, pacing is deliberately slow, music makes fine use of classical tracks & it benefits greatly from some strong performances, especially from the two ladies playing Ida & her aunt.

On an overall scale, Ida has a lot to admire about but I can't deny that it left me quite unmoved in the end. Its winter-like characteristics exhibit everything one usually hates about winters, things like its narration is mostly static, its cold atmosphere makes the ride even tougher, the subject matter is depressing & instead of a promise of spring, its ending is all the more heartbreaking. Still worth a shot though.
Remarkably creative black and white film
The story takes place in early 1960s Poland and has eighteen-year-old novitiate Anna, who has never ventured away from her convent, being requested by her Mother Superior to visit her aunt Wanda. Anna had never met Wanda, her only relative. Immediately upon their meeting Wanda informs Anna that her real name is Ida Lebenstein and remarks with some irony that she will be a Jewish nun. Wanda is Ida's opposite, a smoking, drinking, middle-aged woman who sleeps around. Ida's visit to Wanda has a powerful effect on both woman as they dig back into their past, and into Poland's past.

When Germany surrendered in WWII there was much celebration in the West, but the mood in Poland was not altogether jubilant--the Nazis had been defeated but the Soviet occupation was settling in for a long stay, long enough to cover the time period in this movie. The political situation in post-war Poland is complex and requires study for a non-trivial understanding. Before seeing this film I had seen several films of Andrzej Wajda, of most relevance his war trilogy ("A Generation," "Canal," "Ashes and Diamonds"); those fine films, particularly "Ashes and Diamonds," gave me useful backgroundå for viewing "Ida."

Much of the power of this drama comes from its dominant mood of quiet reverence. There is essentially no score outside what music figures in the story itself. Agata Kulesza gives a commanding performance as Wanda and the movie gets by with its silences in part since Kulesza can say so much with facial expressions and body movement. She held my attention even in long, silent close-ups. Wanda is a complex character filled with anger, regret, despair, and a sense of authority accorded to her as a state judge. Ida is hard to figure, since you rarely get beyond her serene beauty. For most of the film Ida is seen as a naive, unworldly young woman of faith. However there is one scene where Wanda grabs Ida's Bible in order to read from it and Ida rips it from her hands and hides it under her pillow--this has Wanda saying, "Oh, a beast came out." After her visit with Wanda Ida is not the same woman she was before. You can see this in the expression on her face in the final scene where her placid exterior has been replaced with a look of worried uncertainty. A case could be made that not much is demanded of Agata Trzebuchowska in playing Ida, but she manages to create an intriguing character, maybe because she invites projecting one's emotions onto her. Surely director Pawlikowski must be credited to some extent for Trzebuchowska's performance.

Beyond the film's many notable attributes, the one that stands out for me is the black and white cinematography. I regret that this art form is no longer common, so I was delighted to see this film's unique and exquisite cinematography. The filming, in a 4:3 aspect ratio with a mostly fixed camera, is unusual. Equally unusual is the framing, with most of the content of interest occurring in the lower half of the picture or at the perimeter--far from distracting I found this technique transfixing. The lighting was used to focus your attention where it should be while providing a large canvas for backgrounds that provided an accentuating effect. I rarely use superlatives, but as a long time lover of black and white, I think this may be the best use of the medium that I have seen. The print on the Blu-ray disk is pristine.

This movie grabbed my attention from the first image and never let up. It is one of those rare movies where I did not notice the passage of time. Not many films exhibit the burst of creativity on display here.
Simple but beautiful film
Ida is a simple but beautiful film about a novitiate nun, about to pledge herself to Christianity, who goes on a journey to find her lineage with her only living relative.

It is early 1960's post World War II Poland, and Ida is on the verge of taking her vows of utter devotion and service to Christ. Upon the urging of one of her superior sisters, she first must meet her Aunt and only living relative and learn of her family history. Both women would rather not face the sad truths and demise of their familial roots, but nonetheless take the journey to discover the tragedy and make amends with who they really are.

Written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida is a bold film in its audacious vision of simplicity. Shot entirely in black and white, this austere film utilizes old techniques to further convey its message. Superficially, Ida is an almost plain and straightforward film but upon secondary analysis the layers of conflict are unveiled. Within the dialogue, buried in subtle acting and subtext is a subliminal conflict of relations in Poland during this time.

In Ida much is left unspoken, though the intent of the film is quiet and clear, less cinephilic individuals will not connect with this film. Ida is a departure in cinema unlike the majority of films widely released to audiences, besides its solely black and white cinematography. The acting is natural and pure, especially by the actress who plays Ida's Aunt, Agata Kulesza. The character she brings to life is a complex and burdened individual with a storied past and a worthy opposite to Ida's chastity contained in Agata Trzebuchowska.

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Stunning pictures, mind-blowing camera work. And then, the Aunt.
While French artsy-critic magazine "telerama" gave it an ecstatic review, there is one thing I wasn't prepared for: the quality of the images. Set in an almost-but-not-quite faded black and white, of about completely square format, I was sure the movie, set and shot in Poland, was using some obscure last reels of some obscure special negatives, developed in a forgotten cold-war era lab... Well, according to the credits, that was all digital, from start to finish. All the haters of DDD processes out there (I'm one of them), we can now be assured the modern film-maker has today the ability to really work on grain, under-exposure, blurred shadows and all that; Wiene, Murneau, Dreyer, Eisenstein and Lang be damned.

I was stunned. This, and the quite audacious camera angles, the ever so close close-ups that only half a face remains visible. I even noticed what should be considered an error (walking in the forest, you only see the characters up from their ankles, missing their feet labouring trough the undergrowth)... And it just works because of the richness of the various tree trunk's winter greys.

Add to that the settings, the aesthetics of semi-derelict post-war communist décor, and the odd 'innocent girl meets nice boy' arch-cute scene, but that was to be expected from the start, even if it is just about perfect. The Hotel is... A graphic masterpiece in itself.

So yeah, the movie is worth it's weight on that alone already, and then there is Agata Kulesza, so absolutely right every part of her role as Aunt Wanda, so whole and complex inside a movie that doesn't otherwise spend lengths on character's backgrounds that she just draws you inside, whether you know her story, her past, her issues or not. A jaw-dropping performance.

This movie should not be called Ida, but Wanda.
The Not so Usual. Life.
Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski films in his homeland of Poland and presents a familiar topic from a most unusual perspective. This film has been very well received on the festival circuit and it's easy to see why: it's beautifully photographed, very well acted, includes terrific music and presents an emotional story for intelligent viewers.

We first meet Anna as a novitiate nun on the verge of taking her vows. Her Mother Superior has one requirement. Anna must visit her lone surviving relative. Her Aunt Wanda is everything Anna is not: worldly, cynical, direct. In the first few minutes of their visit, Wanda (Agata Kulesza) informs Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) that she was born Jewish with the name Ida, and she was sent to a Catholic orphanage when her parents were killed.

After this bombshell, the two set out on a journey to discover the truth and trace their roots. It's a journey of discovery not just for Ida, but also for Wanda, who carries her own burden. Questioning one's faith and one's true identity is nothing new, but this makes for quite an unusual buddy road trip. Wanda is rarely without a drink in hand and Ida has had no previous exposure to the real world.

This is the debut of Agata Trzebuchowska and her porcelain look and big eyes convey a quality with which we find ourselves comfortable with, while Ms. Kulesza evokes empathy from the viewer despite her harsh edge and beaten down outlook on life and people. Hers is a standout performance.

Two exceptional pieces of music are used to perfection: Coltraine's "Naima" and Mozart's "Jupiter" symphony. The storytelling and look of the film might be austere (stunning black and white photography) but this music hits us hard in two separate scenes.
Fails in getting the audience involved
This film was actually a truly big player at awards ceremonies all over the planet. It won honors in Germany, Spain, England, North America and Poland of course. At the Polish Film Awards it won Best Film, Actress (which actually went to the main character's aunt) and Director while scoring a few more nominations. Probably, as a result of that, it is also the Polish submission for the Foreign Language category at next year's Academy Awards. We will see how far it gets there.

We follow the paths of a young woman a few days before her vow, i.e. before becoming a nun. She's stuck between her faith and between temptation that lurks around the corner. And as if that wasn't enough already, she also finds out she is Jewish. As a consequence, she meets her Jewish aunt (a renowned judge before she retired) and the two make a road trip in order to find information about the main character's deceased parents. She meets a musician that she finds very attractive and the aunt isn't too uninterested in men either, gently speaking.

For Agata Trzebuchowska it is the very first role and she starts to prove that there is some acting talent behind that beautiful face. The director is Pawel Pawlikowski and this is only his second project roughly 10 years after the well-known "Summer of Love". After working with Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas, Paddy Considine and Emily Blunt, he is back to local productions in Poland.

However, I cannot say that i enjoyed this film a lot. It's all too bleak and uninteresting for my taste. None of the characters have you really feel with them and you don't hate them either. You just don't get involved really, which is the one of worst things that can happen. I usually like black-and-white films, but even with being considerably shorter than 90 minutes this film started to drag on several occasions. The ending is open. we see the main character walk away and it is unclear if she chooses the path of celibacy or away from the monastery. The aunt's death scene felt really awkward to me as she did not seem to be somebody who would commit suicide at all. It just did not fit in my opinion. Unfortunately there is too many criticisms which let me come to the final verdict that I would not recommend watching this movie. Still I'm curious if it gets the Academy Award nomination next year and if it possibly has the chance to win. For me it has not.
Ida down
This is a quiet, almost still film about guilt, identity and life-choices. Photographed in black and white, it's unstinting in its austerity and bleakness as it posits a young novitiate Polish nun named Anna who just before she takes her final vows is urged by her Mother Superior to go out into the world under the reluctant stewardship of her long-absent aunt and make her mind up definitely about her fate.

Said aunt is a judge in the grey early 60's Communist time but who in a past life was a member of the Jewish resistance, now struggling with her past guilt and current duties as well as her abiding loneliness fuelled by her propensity to drink and indulging in casual sex. It's she who reveals to Anna her true identity as a Jew born of parents murdered during the war by non-Jewish Polish nationals who stole their property in so doing.

The film explores their uneasy relationship as the aunt, at first unwillingly but later, compelled by the need to exorcise her own demons and sense of familial responsibility to the young girl, digs deeper into the past to find their true selves. Along the way they encounter a young jazz musician who seems to open up for Anna / Ida the prospect of a conventional life. The film ends however with both women making irrevocable choices which only confirm the gloominess of all that has gone before.

Only 82 minutes long, for me I still found it dragged itself to its necessary conclusion in a way that strained my patience and interest. The young first-time actress in the lead merely projects a mask-like persona which somehow failed to inspire any sympathy in me. Perhaps Ida was deadened by her experience in the convent but after finding out the true history of herself and her family and experiencing drink and sex soon afterwards, the film ends with her donning again her nun's clothing and hurrying back to the convent.

I couldn't work out whether the film was thus criticising the mundane dehumanising Communist regime or making an even bigger point about the purity of a sacred life as against the travails of a profane one, but ultimately the coldness of the photography and indeed the characters failed to really engage me and make me care about their fates. The film is beautifully shot, but in a pretentious art-house manner (characters depicted off-centre in the frame, long pauses, no movement) which ultimately for me went against the humanity at the heart of these troubled individuals.

I understand the earnest pretensions of the film-maker but ultimately my curiosity in the characters and their disparate, desperate lives was nullified by the dullness of what was put on the screen.
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