Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Movie review: ‘Ida’ finds quiet drama in family secrets
Review » Polish director tells tale of postwar guilt.
First Published Jun 05 2014 03:23 pm • Last Updated Jun 06 2014 01:02 pm

In the drama "Ida," director Pawel Pawlikowski returns to his native Poland for a starkly drawn, quietly moving story about faith, family and secrets of the past.

Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) was an orphan raised in a Polish convent since she was put there as a baby during World War II. When the movie starts, it’s 1962, and she’s a novitiate preparing to take her vows to become a nun. Before she does, the Mother Superior (Halina Skoczynska) insists that Anna visit her only known relative, her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza).

At a glance



A nun-to-be learns a secret about her past in this quietly compelling Polish drama.

Where » Broadway Centre Cinemas.

When » Opens Friday, June 6.

Rating » PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and smoking.

Running time » 82 minutes; in Polish, with subtitles.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Anna visits Wanda in the city and finds a woman who is her polar opposite: jaded, alcoholic and, as a former prosecutor and now a magistrate, a long-standing Communist and atheist. Wanda tells Anna something shocking about her past: Her birth name is Ida; her parents were Jewish and were killed during the war.

Wanda drives Anna to the village where her parents lived, and Wanda starts knocking on doors and stirring up long-hidden resentments. They also befriend a young saxophonist (Dawid Ogrodnik) whose carefree attitude gives Anna something new to think about as she contemplates committing herself to Christ.

Pawlikowski, who has made English-language films such as "My Summer of Love" and "The Woman in the Fifth," goes very minimalist in his first movie shot in his home country. He shoots in black-and-white, which captures the austere conditions in Anna’s abbey and the bleak cityscapes of Communist living. He moves the camera infrequently, finding starkly beautiful settings — everything from a farmer’s field to a spiral staircase — for the action to unfold in long, unbroken takes.

The lead actresses bring power and pain to their roles. Kulesza captures the bitterness of Wanda’s life as a cynical Communist apparatchik, while Trzebuchowska gives quiet grace and strength to Anna. Together, they give "Ida" a gentle yet intense urgency.


Twitter: @moviecricket

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.