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Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
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. Written by
Flopped image. Near the end, Ida is resting in bed with her head on a pillow, to the left side of the screen. The close up shot is from above looking down and the image is flipped. A small mole that has been on her right cheek throughout the film is, in this shot, on her left side, and returns to her right side in the following shots. See more »
What sort of sacrifice are these vows of yours?
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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.
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