Paweł Pawlikowski’e newest picture garners the main prize at the 57th edition of the London Film Festival, as well as the Warsaw Grand Prix in the International Competition category during the annual Warsaw Film Festival
Coming after the director's acclaimed Last Resort, from 2000, and My Summer of Love, made in 2004 the bravely subtle new film by Pawlikowski, Ida wins the festival with a greatly touched audience. Ida fought in the festival’s main competition alongside films by Xavier Dolan, Catherine Breillat and Jonathana Glazer. Presided over by film critic Philip French, The jury consisted of director Lone Scherfig, a master of the visual arts, Stan Douglas, the actress Miranda Richardson, Deborah Moggach, a set designer and the cinemtographer Rodrigo Prieto. The Guardian released a review of the picture by Peter Bradshaw, in which he awes the acting, the shooting, but, first and foremost, the theme and the way it is approached:
Every moment of Ida feels intensely personal. It is a small gem, tender and bleak, funny and sad, superbly photographed in luminous monochrome: a sort of neo-new wave movie with something of the classic Polish film school and something of Truffaut, but also deadpan flecks of Béla Tarr and Aki Kaurismäki. (...)
Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida brings together the scheme of a road film with a mystical tale about identity. Ida, played by Agata Trzebuchowska, was brought up in a convent and wants to become a nun herself. Before she takes her vows, she needs to get to know her only living relative. Her encounter with aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza’s performace), a judge who conducted trials in the Stalinist period, is both clash of personalities and the return of a tragic family history. Read more about the film in the culture.pl review by Bartosz Staszczyszyn
The review by Bradshaw also asserts that
Ida is a drama that obliquely but candidly addresses the issues of Polish catholicism, antisemitism, the church and the state. Ida is someone whose nun's habit enforces a reflex respect from those she meets: she is aware that this is something not to be renounced lightly, and the idea of renouncing it in favour of Judaism is an ever-greater wrench. She and the other noviciates are in one scene shown face down on the ground in the traditional attitude of humility and self-abasement, a face-down inversion of the crucifixion pose that paradoxically suggests sensational importance and prestige.
The Observer's former film critic Philip French announced the Best Film award, saying: "The jury greatly admired Ida, the first film made in his native Poland by a director who came to prominence while living in Britain. We were deeply moved by a courageous film that handles, with subtlety and insight, a painfully controversial historical situation – the German occupation and the Holocaust – which continues to resonate."
Other Polish films were screened during the London festival outside of the competition. These included Floating Skyscrapers by Tomasz Wasilewski, Papusza by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze, Andrzej Wajda’s Wałęsa. Man of Hope, and the excellent documentaries Father and Son by Paweł Łoziński and Father and Son on a Journey by Marcel Łoziński.
Topping off the Polish accents in London was Ari Folman’s Congress, which resonates with this country intellectual heritage as it is based on the prose by science-fiction legend, Stanisław Lem.
Ida is a film appreciated also in its home country. It recently won the Grand Prix of the Warsaw Film Festival. The international jury of the festival was comprised of directors Iulia Rugina from Romania and Yriv Horowitz from Isreal, producers San Fu Maltha from Hlland and Afras Muhi from Hungary, as well as the Polish writer Krzysztof Varga. Their verdict presented the prize in recognition of a
Fantastic combination of the screenplay, direction, cinematography, acting and the soundtrack that created a beautiful and delicate picture, one that portrays Polish society of the 1960s as it tackles its own demons.
The Ecumenic Jury stated that
Ida is a moving and complex story of a young girl brought up in a convent, who sets out on a journey is search for her true identity amidst the difficult reality of a post-war communist Poland. This subtle and amitiously shot black and white film poses questions about family bonds, forgiveness and a mature faith in an elliptic form.
The Ecumenic Jury consisted of the French critic Jean-Michel Zucker, the Czech journalist Lukas Jirs and the Polish filmmaker, producer and set designer, Jarosław Szoda.
The Warsaw Film Festival is shortlisted by the FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films) as one of the 14 most important cinematographic festivals in the world.
Ida also won this year’s Golden Bear award of the annual film festival in Gdynia.
Editor: Paulina Schlosser,
sources: PAP, PISF, www.portalfimowy.pl, The Guardian, 21.10.2013