Drama | Polish, French, Latin with English subtitles | 82 minutes
In 1960s communist Poland, Anna, a young novice, is told by her prioress, before taking her final vows, she must visit her aunt, Wanda Gruz, her only surviving relative. Anna visits Wanda in Warsaw. The chain-smoking, hard-drinking Wanda tells a shocked Anna that her actual name is Ida Lebenstein. Ida’s parents were Jewish and murdered during the World War II German occupation of Poland. Wanda encourages Ida before taking her final vows she should experience “worldly sins and pleasures.” Ida meets Lis, a saxophone player in a local hangout. After hours, Ida goes to the club and watches as the band wraps up. Lis and Ida are drawn together. However, Ida is driven to visit her parents’ graves. They track down a Christian farmer, Feliks Skiba. Feliks killed Ida’s parents and then brought the infant Ida to a convent. Wanda also had an infant daughter but she was dark and looked Jewish. Feliks also killed Wanda’s daughter. Profoundly affected by these revelations, Wanda’s life becomes tragic while Ida must make a heart-wrenching decision: Should she take up with Lis or return to the convent?
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 96%
- Metacritic Score: 91
- Academy Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
- BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Film; Best Supporting Actress (Agata Kulesza)
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
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Riveting, original and breathtakingly accomplished on every level, IDA would be a masterpiece in any era, in any country.
There is an implicit argument here between faith and materialism, one that is resolved with wit, conviction and generosity of spirit. Mr. Pawlikowski has made one of the finest European films (and one of the most insightful films about Europe, past and present) in recent memory.
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