Thursday, May 1, 2014
IDA, the new film from expatriate Pole, Pawel Pawlikowski, is one of the most beautiful movies, visually, that I have seen a long while. Its black-and-white cinematography (by Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal) is scrumptious, with compositions -- one after another after another -- that are so stunning and attention-catching that you can only marvel at their alternating power and loveliness. TrustMovies dearly loves good black-and-white cine-matography, and so, for this alone he would not have missed the movie. Its story, too, is a humdinger of sorts:
Rebecca Lenkiewicz) and director Pawlikowski (shown at right) has taken these secrets -- there is but a single important one, but this leads to the discovery of others -- involving heritage, family, religion, the Holocaust and the meaning of identity itself, and from them built a sturdy but suprisingly swift, 80-minute movie.
Last Resort is said to be his best by far (till now), I have not been able to see it, though it has remained, unfulfilled, in my Netflix queue for over a decade. The films I have seen -- My Summer of Love, The Woman in the Fifth and Ida -- have been interesting and often beautifully filmed, but they seem nowhere near the level of praise accorded "Summer" and now Ida.
Agata Trzebuchowska, who may just have the darkest pairs of non-special-effects-induced eyes in the history of cinema). Raised in a convent, Anna/Ida would not, it is true, be one for much small talk or explanation. But still, for us in the audience, inquiring minds want to know.
Agata Kulesza (below). Wanda is the picture-perfect renditon of a woman who placed social/political duty/revenge above family, repressed it, and now finds it suddenly taking over her life. How this character/situation works itself out is a case study full of facts, excellent performances, and a screenplay offering pre-arranged resolution rather than messy life.
Claude Miller's fine films on some similar themes -- A Secret (which you can now stream via Netflix) -- chock full of that messy life, which Miller and his cast and co-screewriter Natalie Carter (from Philippe Grimbert's novel) turn into to moving art. In the concise, contained Ida, the secrets, resolutions and -- hell -- everything else, too, come just a little too easily.
Music Box Films, opens this Friday May 2, in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cienma and Film Forum on Friday, May 2, and in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal. In the weeks to come the film will open all over the country. Click here to see currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters.