Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Ida" - A Film by Pawel Pawlikowwski (2015) Polish

In this film from Poland, Agata Trzebuchowska  plays the role of Anna , a novitiate nun in 1960s Poland. She is about to take her vows when she is summoned by the Mother Superior and instructed to go home to visit her only living relative; her mother’s sister. When Anna meets the woman who is her Aunt she is perplexed as to just why she is there.  Aunt Wanda, played by Agata Kulesza, works as a judge for the Polish Government and informs Anna that she is a Jew, just as her mother was.

When the Nazis took over Poland they didn’t have too much trouble convincing the people to turn on the Jews. The Catholic Church did hide many of the children of the Jews who were transported to death camps. But they raised them as Catholics to protect them. When the war ended many were never told of their true identities. The Polish people were not very interested in giving back the properties which they had acquired after the Jews were expelled.

But some churches let God decide the issue by releasing the refugee children and requiring them to go back home before making the decision whether to remain a Christian or return to the religion of their birth. Anna’s story; although fictitious; is emblematic of those stories. The film is starkly realistic in it’s filming. Poland of the early 1960’s was a bleak place under Communist rule and the film captures that expertly.

There is a lot to learn from this film about people and how they act under extraordinary circumstances. After briefly tasting some odf the outside world which she has missed while in the convent, Anna must finally make a choice for her future based on the experiences of her past.

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