Ida (English version of the previous post)

27 mar

A Polish friend of mine once told me that, in communist Poland, the most revolutionary thing for young people to do was to get married in Church, with veil, wreath, nuptial hymn and all. The country being, by tradition, deeply Catholic, the communist regime imposed, by force, an atheism which was not welcome at all.

So, in the fifties and sixties, as juvenile rebellion, in the capitalist world,  consisted of drinking, smoking, playing rock´n´roll, and eloping, in Poland church wedding was the great gesture of extreme courage for young people who were dissatisfied with the status quo.

But, why am I talking about this?

The reason is I´ve just watched “Ida” (2014), the Polish movie that received the best foreign film Oscar this year, and, which, somehow, has something to do with the situation once evoked by my friend.

ida 1

In 1962, in this faraway convent, there lives this novice Anna who, together with other novices, will soon take her vows and become a nun. Before this happens, she is sent to town by Mother Superior, to stay some days with an aunt she had never seen, nor known she existed, for, according to her novitiate documents, she was an orphan who had no relatives whosoever.

Open-minded and libertine, Aunt Wanda shows to a surprised Anna some pictures of her parents, Jews who were killed during the war. It turns out that Anna – now identified as Ida – is convinced by her aunt to go for what was left of the family, an old house in the rural area, nowadays occupied by strangers.

It is in the cow barn of this house that Anna will see the stained glasses which – her aunt so said –  her mother had put in the windows, so that the cows could feel happier. A small detail that gives the girl an idea of who her mother was, probably an artistic and anti-conventional soul and a person full of life.

Aunt and niece suffering together

Aunt and niece suffering together

Questions asked all around, the two women are finally led, in the middle of a humid, dark forest, onto a painful truth which I prefer not to reveal to the reader who hasn´t seen the movie yet.

Let me just say that, back in the Convent, Anna  realizes she is not yet ready for the vows. When she returns to town, for her aunt´s funeral, she decides she must for a moment try life as it is. She puts on her aunt´s dress and high-heel shoes, she smokes and drinks like her aunt used to do, and gives her body to a boy they had met on their way to town.

While still in bed, the boy suggests they should elope, and she asks “And next?”. The boys says they could get married and have children; and she asks again: “And next?”. Not knowing what else to say,  he says: “Whatever, life”.

All these “sins” committed, Ida/Anna puts back on her veil and heads back for the Convent, to lead a life of religious reclusion forever. And the movies ends up with a frontal take of her face, clearly determined not to have the “life” the boy had mentioned.

Without the novice veil

Without the novice veil

This ending considered, it might look a bit ironical – or doesn´t it? – that the movie is called “Ida”, and not “Anna”.

Anyway, it must be stressed that, in this movie, we are very far away from any kind of manicheistic schedule that might separate the two entities, Anna and Ida. That´s why, in the previous paragraph, I was careful enough to use quotation marks for the word “sins”.

I guess that, watching “Ida”, makes one recall “The nun´s story” (1959), a movie with a similar issue, where the nun Audrey Hepburn hesitates between faith and the world. In Fred Zinnemann´s film the choice is other, but, anyway, similarities persist.

Except for Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski and krzysztof Kielowski, the Polish cinema is hardly known amog us. I recently  wrote about Wajda (See my post “Walesa”), and, as to the other two, they are far more active outside their country, than inside.

“Ida” is directed by Pawel Pawlikowski and the young actress Agatha Trzebuchowska is very good as the main character. I call attention, however, to the beautiful black and white cinematography (by Lucasz Zal), a chromatic choice that, very appropriately, causes the viewer to bring to mind the many shades of grey of the European art cinema shot more or less at the fictional time of “Ida”, late fifties, early sixties. I mean films like “The 400 blows”, “Breathless”, “Rocco and his brothers”, “La dolce vita”, “Persona”, and so many others…

P.S: This article is dedicated to my Polish friend Jack Slosky, at present living in the United States.

The actress Agatha Trzebuchkowska as the protagonist.

The actress Agatha Trzebuchkowska as the protagonist.

Deixe um comentário

Preencha os seus dados abaixo ou clique em um ícone para log in:

Logotipo do

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Sair /  Alterar )

Foto do Google

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Google. Sair /  Alterar )

Imagem do Twitter

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Twitter. Sair /  Alterar )

Foto do Facebook

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Facebook. Sair /  Alterar )

Conectando a %s

%d blogueiros gostam disto: