While it is shot in black and white, Ida is anything but.
Yesterday, Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida was nominated for Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography. It’s rare for an international and subtitled film to be nominated in any category other than the designated foreign one. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and City of God are some of the more recent films to have received this honor for Best Cinematography. Adding to that distinction, this is a black and white film. The only modern black and white film to have won the cinematography category was Schindler’s List.
Clearly, this film is something special. While it is shot in black and white, its story is anything but. It has much to say about the realities of postwar Communism. And it entertains like a road trip movie unlike any you’ve ever seen.
Anna, an orphan and nun in 1960s Poland, is charged with exploring her background before taking her irrevocable vows. A road trip with her one existing relative leads to secrets about her personal past as well as broader revelations about Poland’s history.
The best supporting character to this story is certainly the sharp monochrome cinematography that puts you into the world of 1962. If I didn’t know better, I would easily believe that Ida is a rediscovered classic more than a film from 2014.
Simply put: At only eighty minutes long, Ida should please any fan of foreign films.
Award potential: Depends on if it gets seen. It’s the frontrunner for Best Foreign Film, but it has lots of competition. Argentina’s Wild Tales and Russia’s Leviathan have lots of supporters and non-Holocaust plotlines.
The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks. It is available on Netflix at this writing.