Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Theirs is a journey into the heart of Poland’s church and state, into its Catholicism and anti-Semitism. The nun’s habit and her girlish, almost childlike demeanor enforce a reflex respect from the people she meets: clearly, the prestige it confers is not to be abandoned lightly – it is all that she has. Conversely, the irascible Wanda stirs up the past and riles everyone with tactless questions about Ida’s Jewish parents. She knows, and they know, that there were collaborators, but also those who helped and hid Jews – and still others whose behavior was ambiguous. Despite the grim back drop, the black and white filming, and the paucity of speech, this is a moving and thought-provoking film, worthy of the Best Foreign Language Film award it won at the Oscars last week.