Donnerstag, 3. April 2014


Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski's "Ida", about a young Jewish nun going on a trip with her free-spirited aunt to find the grave of their murdered family, is a small but fine character study/ mood piece that sadly doesn't amount to more. Starting off rather like a straight, mildly amusing odd-couple road movie, it soon reveals itself to be not quite the harmless vanilla as subjects of holocaust, religion, identity, choice and temptation emerge. However, partly due to its light 80-min length and more because of the directorial decision to keep a cool distance from the volatility of the situations, the film dealing with all these life and death issues often feels oversimplified, strangely insubstantial. So in the third act, when shock waves are sent by unexpected turns of events, the emotional blow they pack is not much beyond that of a genuine sigh.

Still, in presenting two vastly different female characters each vivid and mysterious in her own way, the film provides plenty of quietly poignant moments where one gets to witness facets of humanity, unadorned and fascinating. And aesthetically, the film is an absolute winner. Exquisite, sometimes unconventional compositions and textured, era-specific production design synchronize with the patiently observant lens in perfect harmony to yield images that are striking in their beauty and evocative in their tone. Black-and-white photography is not automatically interesting (take that, "Nebraska"!), but with the right visual concept in place and all the supporting elements aligned, it can make snow, smoke, a stain, a shoe look so glorious and forlorn it's a precious, precious thing.

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