An air of melancholy â€” the weight of history, a feeling of inevitable tragedy â€” hangs over Ida, which is an examination of a small piece of Jewish history in Second World War Poland. Itâ€™s an elegant miniature that illuminates grander, sadder themes.
It tells a simple story. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a novice in a convent somewhere in the Polish countryside. On the eve of taking her vows, the mother superior advises her to visit her only living relative, Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), who lives in a nearby town.
Anna is a pretty nun with a heartbreaking dimple (three dimples when she smiles, as her aunt notes) and a sweet disposition. Wanda is a blowsy woman: smart, cynical, alcoholic. She has had the sentiment driven out of her and although she is a judge â€” the film is set in 1960s Poland, a time just far enough from the years of