“Ida” a Melancholy Post-Holocaust Memoir
By Skip Sheffield
“Ida” is a post-Holocaust film set in Poland in 1962. The story, written and directed by Pawel Pawlikowsi (“The Last Resort,” “My Summer of Love”) is centered on the aftermath of the terrible events of World War II in Poland and specifically on their effect on a middle-aged woman who lived through the ordeal and her 18-year-old niece, who was just an infant when her family was murdered, presumably by Nazis.
Anna (stunningly beautiful newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska) was raised in an orphanage and is now a novice in a convent. She is about ready to take her vows, but the Mother Superior requests- nay orders- her to visit her one surviving relative before she dedicates her life to the Catholic Church.
The relative is her Aunt Wanda, whom she has never met. Anna’s initial encounter with Wanda is rocky.
“I know who are,” says Wanda (Agata Kulesza) gruffly when Anna introduces herself. “They didn’t tell you who I am or what I do?”
Anna is in for some shocks. For one thing her name is not Anna but Ida Lebenstein and she was born Jewish.
“So you are a Jewish nun?” mocks Wanda.
Wanda and Ida are polar opposites. Ida is chaste, pious and naïve. Wanda is worldly, faithless and cynical. She is a high-ranking official in the Socialist Party of Poland, and as such she is an atheist. She is a chain-smoker, a heavy drinker and a self-described “slut.”
“Ida” is very short- less than 90 minutes- and shot in moody black-and-white. It is more about the relationship between the two women than it is about the Holocaust. However, the Holocaust will re-impact itself upon the characters in a tragic way.
“Ida” is part mystery story and part coming-of-age. It is all melancholy and downbeat. If you understand that upfront you can appreciate the artistry of this melancholy memoir shot by a Pole returning to his homeland for the first time since childhood.
Johnny Cash Musical Opens at Arts Garage
On a much cheerier note, “Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical” opens Friday, June 20 and continues through July13 at Arts Garage, 180 N.W. First St., Delray Beach.
The title comes from one of Johnny Cash’s greatest hits, written with his beloved wife June Carter. The show is a musical revue with more than 30 of Cash’s greatest hits, performed by eight singer-actors representing various eras in Cash’s career.
Tickets are $30-$45. Call 561-450-6357 or go to www.artsgarage.org.