"Ida": Film nominated for two Oscars draws praise & controversy
February 6, 2015 4:48 PM   Subscribe

"Ida" (trailer: YouTube & Apple) is a black & white (and a Polish language) film from Poland by director Pavel Pawlikowski (this link contains spoilers). Hailed a film "masterpiece" by more than one critic, the film has now been recognized in America by not just one Oscar nomination (Foreign Language Film) but a 2nd in the broader category of Cinematography. For those interested in filmmaking, cinematography, and lighting, here is a look at three scenes from Ida. More? Here are another four scenes. The film is not without controversy, including Poles who are upset at the portrayal of their countrymen (and women) during the Nazi occupation and the Stalinism that followed WWII. Does 'Ida' misrepresent Poland's treatment of Jews?
posted by spock (51 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
I should also note that the film is currently showing on Netflix, as well as other online pay-for-view venues. I would love to see it on the Big Screen myself but, alas, I live in the middle of Nebraska.
posted by spock at 4:50 PM on February 6, 2015


Netflix keeps suggesting it to me, so this is the spur I've needed to actually watch it.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:59 PM on February 6, 2015


I saw this movie last night with a friend and we both shit ourselves. The cinematography is epic. The balls it takes to make a movie like this. The aspect ratio, the commitment to black and white, the off-center action, the tools used to create the composition. All of it.

I also read that the original DP quit after a few days, and Pawlikowski couldn't find another DP, so he finished the movie with the young camera operator. I also read that this is Agata Trzebuchowska's first movie; she has no prior acting experience.

This is one of my favorite shots. As is this. I mean, where do you begin. Among many other comments that could be made - to have the courage to fill 50% of a frame with the ceiling of a floor below. This is a dream project. If this is on Netflix, it's a must watch.
posted by phaedon at 5:09 PM on February 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


If I may editorialize, many men will see: B&W, subtitles, and female lead characters and (ignorantly) miss a most beautiful film, and a superb, haunting story. As a (male) photographer/designer/visual person I was blown away by the tonality & composition of the film, let alone the fascinating slow reveal of the story. I was so drawn in and mesmorized that it was only on the third time watching it that I realized it is filmed in a SQUARE aspect ratio.

If you could hit "pause" during almost every single scene you would have a photograph worthy of any of the master photographers of the monochrome film era.
posted by spock at 5:12 PM on February 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


One of the most beautiful and haunting films I've seen in years. Really beyond words.
posted by dis_integration at 5:19 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw this last week, and thought it was incredible.
posted by dng at 5:22 PM on February 6, 2015


I am watching it now. The main actress has an amazing face, both still and expressive. I'm going to like this movie.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:23 PM on February 6, 2015


It's a very beautiful, moving film and impressive in its lack of concern over being easy to take or accessible--yet somehow it is still accessible. There is a scene in the middle of it where I knew what was going to happen, sort of, and even so, the actual portrayal of the details was a punch in the gut. It is definitely worth seeing.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:26 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I'm not mistaken, there is not a single scene in which the camera moves (pans or changes elevation or point of view during the shot) or zooms in or out (even slightly). Perhaps someone in the industry or a student of film could explain why that has such an impact on the feel of the film (or of the viewer). I'm very curious.
posted by spock at 5:28 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dip Flash: Shut up, close your laptop and concentrate on the damn movie already.
:)
posted by spock at 5:29 PM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hmm, I had no idea this was an oscar nominee, I just saw it at [whatever place I get illicit movies at], thought it looked good at IMDB, and watched it, and was blown away. It really is gorgeous, and Agata Trzebuchowska's eyes look like a special effect, they're hypnotic. So I hadn't realized it was supposed to be representing the Polish national character or relationship to Judaism, but even if it was, I don't think anybody comes off particularly badly. I dunno, watch it and find out!
posted by hap_hazard at 5:29 PM on February 6, 2015


I would really like to see this. Pawlikowski made Serbian Epics, just about the best documentary I've ever seen on television. To say so much in such an oblique way; seen it only once, 22 years ago: never forgotten it.
posted by glasseyes at 5:53 PM on February 6, 2015


I've been wanting to see this, glad to know it's on Netflix. I've always been interested in cinematography and am curious as to how one gets into learning the craft.
posted by gucci mane at 6:01 PM on February 6, 2015


Gorgeous, amazing film. An over-used phrase, but in this case accurate: a must-see.
posted by twsf at 6:03 PM on February 6, 2015


If I'm not mistaken, there is not a single scene in which the camera moves

My friend and I had a small argument about this. Technically, there is a scene in the beginning and towards the end where the camera is on a bus and you are driving down a street. But yes, all the other shots appear to be fixed. Except for the ending, where she is walking, wich is in my opinion, of little consequence.

I think the effect is highly subjective but universally powerful. In particular the use of very ordinary things to create incredibly strong composition, and the containment of action to the outer thirds, in particular the lower third, or you could argue, the lower-right corner. It could be said that this forces your eye, which reads left-to-right, to really take in everything that is going on in frame.

To me this also affects the plot. It is saying that the symbolism of the environment outweighs whatever it is that the characters are trying to do. The mise en scène (the visual theme) of course says nothing - but it is speaking volumes, yelling even. Perhaps this connects with the idea that there are secrets in Poland, a past that nobody wants to talk about.

Not to mention the outright audaciousness of the cinematography, as is embodied in this still towards the end of the movie. To walk away from that shot and say "we got it" and to show that it works. Unbelievable. You don't see this kind of synchronicity every day.
posted by phaedon at 6:03 PM on February 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Not to pick nits, phaedon, but that link does not go to an image with a square aspect ratio, so it is missing something in either the top or the bottom. But I will look for that scene next time I watch it.
posted by spock at 6:26 PM on February 6, 2015


Still, according to Kenney, the majority of Poles are unconcerned with the fate of “Ida” overseas. “We don’t think people will watch ‘Selma’ in France and get the wrong idea of the United States,” he said. “If this film wins the Oscar, it won’t be because people think it’s about Poland.”
Why do you always have to read to the very end to hear a reasonable argument?
posted by SkinnerSan at 6:30 PM on February 6, 2015


What’s in a Name? The Semantics of “Ida”. Note: Contains spoilers. (Recommend clicking after seeing).
posted by spock at 6:37 PM on February 6, 2015


This film rewards repeated viewings (to me, one of the marks of an extraordinary film). Note how many times Ida and her aunt walk away from one another in a scene (and why). Also interesting is this films total lack of a score or soundtrack. Music is used effectively (emotionally) in the first scene in which it is heard. But it is simply the early sound of the record playing in the next scene. The only other music comes from the tinny car radio or the live band (and how the live band sounds from inside a not-so-distant hotel room).
posted by spock at 7:00 PM on February 6, 2015


I just finished the movie and yes, this is an incredible film that deserves every bit of attention it is getting.

Also interesting is this films total lack of a score or soundtrack.

The use of music stood out to me even more than the camera work. There is a lot of it, used in a bunch of different ways, and always to great effect, balanced with other scenes without music.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:31 PM on February 6, 2015


If I may editorialize, many men will see: B&W, subtitles, and female lead characters and (ignorantly) miss a most beautiful film, and a superb, haunting story.

What the heck, man? Is there some sort of chromosomal issue with appreciating film?
posted by Slap Factory at 7:31 PM on February 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Don't tell me you haven't heard (if not used) the pejorative phrase "chick flick", Slap Factory? (For the record, I object to the entire concept.)
posted by spock at 7:35 PM on February 6, 2015


phaedon, you are right (just finished watching it again). The camera pans in the 2nd to last scene and is clearly handheld and moving with her in the final scene (which I had noticed, but then forgotten from my first viewing).

Also that final scene contains the only music that is not "organic", as in, coming from within the scene itself.: Piano that continues into the final credits. Then the piano ends and there is no further music through the rest of the credits. Just a masterful, masterful, film on many levels.
posted by spock at 7:46 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm no film critic, but I got the impression that a lot of the scenes where the physical surroundings took up so much more space on the screen than the actual actors did were maybe meant to symbolize the dominance of the (social) environment -- whether it be strict Catholicism or Nazi oppression or Communist Polish government -- over the individual. It felt to me like those wide shots started to be replaced with a closer focus on the individuals towards the end, but I'd have to watch it again to confirm.
posted by uosuaq at 8:40 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not to pick nits, phaedon, but that link does not go to an image with a square aspect ratio, so it is missing something in either the top or the bottom. But I will look for that scene next time I watch it.

The aspect ratio is not square. It is a 1.33:1 rectangle, like almost every movie made before 1953.

I didn't like it near as much as y'all in this thread, but to me the extra headroom in nearly every shot was strongly suggestive of God/divinity filling the frame. The static camera technique by itself is effective but not at all unusual in European "art" films.
posted by Mothlight at 9:28 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved this. From the lack of non-diagetic music to the filmography it really resonated. The finale with Wanda caught me totally off guard but the more I considered the more sense it made. Fascinating shots.
posted by Carillon at 9:33 PM on February 6, 2015


The Poles and Ukrainians generally treated Jews terribly (i.e. discrimination, pogroms) before, during, and after the war, but the Poles have this extra level of being deathly afraid of being associated with and thus blamed for Nazi atrocities, which of course they suffered terribly from in a way few in the West appreciate. It's a very strange thing, in that no one in the West actually believes that they had anything to do with the Nazis (not even the uneducated), but it's taken root amongst Poles as something they think Westerners believe (and which I have been asked about when over there). I'm not surprised in the least that this film has stirred controversy in Poland.

Looking forward to watching it though. Thanks.
posted by Palindromedary at 9:40 PM on February 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


This film was so lovely.

Fanfare.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:52 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Correction: It's Pawel Pawlikowski! (not 'pavel')
posted by quirkyturky at 10:00 PM on February 6, 2015


Poland was viciously anti-semitic, worse than Russia even (if that's possible.) The Jews of Poland were isolated socially, often unfamiliar with Polish, and when WWII was over, 90% of them were dead. Yet, it was all the Germans, right?
Rather than being heroic, Poles appear in Golden Harvest not so different from other Europeans in their willingness to aid Hitler in destroying the Jews. Such a perspective, which may seem unremarkable to Western readers, culminates a revolution in historical thinking within Poland itself, sparked some eleven years ago by the publication of Jan Gross’s book Neighbors (2001). Previously, the standard view was that Poles did not help the Nazis because the Nazis viewed Poles as subhumans unfit for collaboration; instead, the Germans sought camp guards from the Ukrainian or Baltic populations. If Poles did not rescue more Jews, that was because of the penalties for doing so: unlike any other people under Nazi occupation, Poles hiding Jews were punished with death for themselves and their families.

In Neighbors, Gross began to undermine this consensus by showing that in the small town of Jedwabne in northeast Poland, on July 10, 1941, Poles murdered their Jewish neighbors in a day-long orgy of violence. After recovering from the shock of this revelation, Polish historians examined previously neglected sources and found more than twenty other places where Poles—encouraged but not forced by the Germans—had abused and killed Jews in the summer of 1941. A new Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw has pushed forward this revolution. Historians still agree that the overwhelming majority of Polish Jews were killed by the Germans, first in overcrowded ghettos under conditions calculated to kill slowly, and then through deportations to the death camps, a process mostly completed by late 1942. But they estimate that some 10 percent of Poland’s Jews escaped deportation and sought shelter in villages and forests, often in large family units. The great majority of these Jews (probably more than 80 percent) did not survive until liberation because Poles helped Germans hunt them down.

In their studies of rural Poland, the Polish historians Jan Grabowski, who teaches at the University of Ottawa, and Barbara Engelking, of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, have shown how this happened. First, German police and Polish village leaders enlisted peasants to comb the forests for Jews who were attempting to survive, often in hand-dug caves and bunkers. Once discovered, the Jews were usually executed on the spot, often by German policemen but sometimes by Polish ones. Jews who took shelter with Polish peasants likewise were usually hunted down and killed. This was due not to frequent patrols by the German police, who were actually few and far between, but to the watchful eyes of other Poles, recording in an invisible ledger every commonplace fact, such as extra portions of bread or milk being consumed by a given household. The members of one Polish family lost their lives when German gendarmes—tipped off by the family’s neighbors—discovered stores of food intended for Jews in hiding (who were also discovered and shot).

Polish historians have long known about Polish collaborators, whom they described as marginal, the dregs of society. Now a consensus is arising among researchers that the denouncers came from all walks of life. In villages around Kielce, for example, local elites orchestrated the killing of several hundred Jews, lending the crimes a “kind of official imprimatur,” according to Gross. Polish policemen tended to be well-situated heads of families. In his investigation of a district in southeastern Poland, Grabowski discovered that peasants with medium-size properties were overrepresented among the collaborators.

Jan and Irena Gross do not claim that all Poles took part in looting Jews’ property, let alone in killing them. Yet those who did could count on the tacit acceptance of their communities. Villagers also knew about the Polish underground but divulged nothing about it to the Germans, for that would have violated a societal consensus. Indeed, thousands of Poles eagerly risked death in the Home Army. Young people in particular plunged enthusiastically into all kinds of “suicidal” acts aimed at frustrating German policy—save the policy of killing Jews. By contrast, stealing from, hunting down and murdering Jews did not flout commonly shared values. Again and again, postwar court testimony speaks of a Jew discovered in hiding and begging his neighbors (with whom he might have played as a child) for his life, yet being delivered to the gendarmes and then shot. All of this occurred in the open. Alina Skibinska, who has read hundreds of court files and other documents, said she has not encountered a single case where villagers found escaped Jews and either let them return to the forest or decided to hide them themselves. The new historical work makes it clear that rural Poland was a hostile, indeed deadly, environment for Jews seeking help.
The degree to which the complicity of Poles for what happened in Poland appears to have been whitewashed is obscene.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:15 PM on February 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


spock: Not to pick nits, phaedon, but that link does not go to an image with a square aspect ratio, so it is missing something in either the top or the bottom.

Mothlight: The aspect ratio is not square. It is a 1.33:1 rectangle, like almost every movie made before 1953.

Maybe spock is confusing it with Xavier Dolan's Mommy, also released recently and shot at a 1:1 ratio?

Either way, I am happy to see such a variety of aspect ratios on display between Ida, Mommy, and the cornucopia of ratios that is The Grand Budapest Hotel.
posted by JauntyFedora at 12:27 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


...here is a look at three scenes from Ida.

Holy shit, that's some amazing work. Just gorgeous.
In this age of green screens and warehouses full of computers belching-out fx-laden ephemera, it's easy to forget just how powerful actual cinematography can be.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:53 AM on February 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just can't believe that this hung, unwatched, in my Netflix queue this long. I remember passing on it when it played in my town because of feelings/sounds heavy/don't wanna cry tonight. The lil blurb of text and about it was compelling enough to put it on my radar, but it just sounded so... austere.

NO ONE TOLD ME that there was awesome lady road trip, romance, twisty stuff, beautiful melodrama. Bits of it reminded me of my favorite parts of Almodovar. And do you like Wes Anderson? Give this a shot! There are scenes so meticulously staged and preciously shot--- well, I think you'd like this! And holy hell, LOOK AT IT! Watch this movie and tell me you don't go "!!!!" every time there are trees. Just the trees! *swoon*

That thing from the Jewish Daily Forward in the FPP calls it It is "bleak, slow and concise" - is it? Maybe that isn't technically wrong (charitable), but that is what sticks with you about this movie? Dang, dude. I hope you learn to love someday.

In conclusion, watch this/so good.
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 4:34 AM on February 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


It really is gorgeous, and Agata Trzebuchowska's eyes look like a special effect, they're hypnotic.

I don't know if it's an artifact of the conversion from color to b&w or my crappy laptop screen but in a number of shots she appears to have no irises, just two black holes...
posted by jim in austin at 5:50 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


According to the director, it was dark contact lenses used for many scenes. Another very effective device and good catch! (I'm also deeply disappointed in myself for misspelling Pawel's first name in the OP.)
posted by spock at 6:49 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "bleak, slow and concise" isn't technically incorrect, but it doesn't seem to catch the mood of the movie at all. I saw this movie in the theater because someone I trusted told me I would like it, and I expected it to be a depressing Holocaust movie, which isn't what it is at all. I was sort of dreading it and then was blown away by how much I liked it.

I can understand how Polish film fans might not be crazy about being represented by someone who hasn't lived in Poland since he was a kid and hasn't really been part of the Polish film industry, but objections to the plot seem to reinforce, rather than challenge, the idea that Polish people have some issues with Jews.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:52 AM on February 7, 2015


Thanks to spock for the post and to the many commenters who have joined in making me want to see this movie even more than I already did!
posted by languagehat at 7:44 AM on February 7, 2015


My friend and I had a small argument about this. Technically, there is a scene in the beginning and towards the end where the camera is on a bus and you are driving down a street. But yes, all the other shots appear to be fixed. Except for the ending, where she is walking, wich is in my opinion, of little consequence.

Well, in the bus scene the frame is still fixed. The camera is moving (attached to the bus) of course, but the edges of the frame do not change (which is what I meant). I think the moving camera in the last two scenes are of GREAT consequence. I leave it to the viewer to come to their own conclusion of why.
posted by spock at 8:24 AM on February 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, in the bus scene the frame is still fixed. The camera is moving (attached to the bus) of course, but the edges of the frame do not change (which is what I meant).

No, edges of the frame almost never change during the course of a movie (I can think of only one movie that does this); they are almost universally fixed. Even in a pan, the frame is fixed.

I think what you mean is the viewpoint is fixed. That is more or less true and should be read into.

Nonetheless, these bus shots are qualitatively different and that's also worth pointing out. They are, in effect, on a dolly, while all the other shots are on a tripod. From a production standpoint you wouldn't describe, set up or execute these as similar shots. Also, the composition of every other shot is derived from the static visual field. So to call the bus scenes "fixed on some meta level," I think takes away from how they are different on a more basic one. The visual field is moving.

To sum up, in this sense, not all of the shots are fixed.

Also, if you really want to blow your noodle, there are in fact at least two pans in the movie. One is just after the 8 minute mark, after Wanda breaks the news to Ida that she is *spoiler*, and walks away from the window. There is also a more significant pan right before the 14 minute mark, as the car pulls up to the memorial by the side of the road.
posted by phaedon at 9:10 AM on February 7, 2015


Thanks phaedon! I do recall the memorial on the side of the road pan, now that you mention it. I think I dismissed it because I am always distracted in that scene by the fact that the road/intersection forms a cross in the composition before the pan. The fact that it is an upside down cross may also be less than accidental. For the other, I believe you, but I must watch for it on my next viewing.

My view of the movies ending is also now in flux. At the end of my first viewing, I thought I knew where she was walking at the end of the movie, but now I'm not so sure.
posted by spock at 9:29 AM on February 7, 2015


I have little to no interest in cinematography and the like when it comes to film, and I still felt this was one of the best movies I saw in 2014. You don't have to have any knowledge of interest in such things to think it is a great movie.

One of the things touched on in the movie is how Poles benefited from the extermination of the Jews because suddenly they had access to and possession of the land formerly held by their now-gone Jewish neighbors. For the most part, I assume they simply took advantage of the situation and realized the economic benefit of appropriating the land of now-gone neighbors that they never really like in the first place, but in some cases, they realized the direct and immediate incentive at the time.
posted by deanc at 1:30 PM on February 7, 2015


this is amazing. as a still photographer I didn't think cinematographers made films like this. everything about the scenes and the lighting diagrams make perfect sense to me. as a still photographer who's beginning to dabble in motion in a very deliberate way this post couldn't have come along at a better time.

oh, and I can't wait to watch the film.
posted by photoslob at 2:40 PM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The top Youtube comment for the official trailer is, well, the most insightful Youtube comment I've ever read (low bar, I know), and directly addresses the controversy of the FPP, so it's highly worth sharing here:

---

TajgerTrzynascie - 3 weeks ago

Some Polish comments about the purported anti-Polish nature of the film speak volumes about the backward mentality of some people in our country today, and I'd like to comment on behalf of the rest of us.

Firstly, understanding the film as a story about "values" or "Polish-Jewish" relations is a misinterpretation: "Ida"'s poignancy is in its intimacy, personality and humanity. The dramatic power is lost when read as a parable or statement about sociopolitical issues. Its tone precisely avoids the sort of sweeping statements about history some would attribute to it. Failing to see the film for what it truly is not only butchers it, but also misrepresents the statements it does make.

Second, and, I think, more importantly, frustration about the portrayal of Poles and Jews displayed below is symptomatic of the conflict the movie concerns itself with: a bizarrely undefended assertion of an absolute dichotomy between Polish and Jewish identity. If the tragedies of the characters must be considered in terms of their historical or societal import, why must this occur in a "Jewish nationalist" framework, and not a Polish one? The story is precisely not about the holocaust, but about mid-century Poland, and the questions it raises concern our country itself, not just Jews, Catholics or Communists. If there is an injustice perpetrated in the film, it is the two-fold victimization of Poles - Jewish and Catholic alike - by two forms of totalitarianism, the historically latter of which perpetuated the hateful and divisive practices of the former with regards to Catholic-Jewish relations in Poland.

Totalitarianism effaces the humanity of the individual and privileges the group. Criticisms of "Ida" on the basis of political statements attributed to it, with no regard for its value as a work of art or the humanity of its characters, just goes to show how much damage the last century has done to our national psyche.

Wybaczcie, ze po angielsku - wiekszosc dotychczasowych komentarzy jest anglojezyczna. 
posted by naju at 1:07 AM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


(That last line reads: excuse the English, most of the existing comments are in English)
posted by naju at 1:14 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd seen this film in the theater, but after reading everyone's comments I felt compelled to watch it again. It is more beautiful and more shattering the second time around. A most extraordinary piece of work... I found myself repeatedly gasping at the knife-edge beauty of certain shots. The static camera work imparts such gravity and formality, both keeping us at a distance and drawing us into the mood. A stunning accomplishment.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:23 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


From the youtube comment that naju cited:
If there is an injustice perpetrated in the film, it is the two-fold victimization of Poles - Jewish and Catholic alike - by two forms of totalitarianism, the historically latter of which perpetuated the hateful and divisive practices of the former with regards to Catholic-Jewish relations in Poland.
This is actually the central point made by critics within Poland who see the film as antisemitic. They say that it creates a false equivalency: Polish Catholics oppressed Jews before, during and after the Holocaust, and then Jews, whom many Polish people blame for Communism, oppressed Polish Catholics during the Communist era. Here's an interesting discussion (from a Polish website, but written in English) of both critiques of the movie: by people who see it as anti-Polish and people who see it as antisemitic.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:07 AM on February 8, 2015


Although on second reading, the youtube commenter is not claiming that Communists were Jews: he or she says that the Communists perpetuated the divisive practices of the earlier era, not that they reversed them.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:11 AM on February 8, 2015


I don't think the film has been accused of being anti-semitic at all. It is the Polish Anti-Defamation League (Reduta Dobrego Imienia) has launched a petition against the film. By this definition, "Polish" means non-jewish Polish, which sort of makes the point that they are arguing so hard against. Poles should include all people of Poland, regardless of religion or background.
posted by spock at 9:00 AM on February 8, 2015


I remember hearing about this film but had no idea it was on Netflix. It's a masterpiece. It uses the fundamentals of storytelling in film in a way we seldom see. I love the shift from the cathedral like shots (2/3s vertical space above the 1/3 (all roughly of course) of the subjects to shots within the world at large. There's a gradual shift in composition and of course at the conclusion, a complete shift from the solid cathedral like composition to the chaotic composition of a tracking or hand held shot. It mirrors, of course, the journey of Ida's perspective and emotions. Doing this sort of thing well is incredibly difficult and this does it wonderfully.
posted by juiceCake at 1:19 PM on February 8, 2015


It definitely has been accused of being antisemitic, spock. It's covered fairly extensively in the article I linked:
The film’s plot raised many concerns, especially on the part of the critics associated with the left side of the political spectrum (and the website Krytyka Polityczna), but also researchers centred around the Polish Holocaust Research Centre. Some of them saw in Ida a whole catalogue of anti-Semitic clichés, most importantly that of Judeo-communism (pol. żydokomuna), a popular belief in Poland that Jews were largely responsible for establishing the Communist government and were particularly active in the security sector. Others suggested that Ida is an attempt at ‘Christianizing’ the Holocaust.
There's a lot more: it's worth a read. I really didn't see the movie that way, but I'm also very far removed from the Polish context.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:32 PM on February 8, 2015


> Judeo-communism (pol. żydokomuna), a popular belief in Poland that Jews were largely responsible for establishing the Communist government and were particularly active in the security sector.

This is a belief in Russia too, and I imagine in other countries; it has a basis in fact, because Jews were overrepresented among the early Bolsheviks, for all sorts of historical reasons, but of course that's used as a pretext to justify already existing anti-Semitism. Latvians were overrepresented, too, but somehow you don't see many people using that fact to justify hatred of Latvians.
posted by languagehat at 9:04 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


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