Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(Poland, Denmark, France, UK, 2013)

(pronounced EE-dah)Ida was raised postwar in a Catholic convent in Stalinist Poland and is very devout. She wants to take her vows, but the Head Penguin tells her she must meet her aunt first, the only surviving member of her family. She doesn’t want to, but obeys, only to learn that she is actually Jewish. The two set off on a road trip to find out what happened to Ida’s parents and Aunt Wanda’s little boy. They know these people are all dead, but they want to know how, why, and where they are buried. It will not surprise you to learn that the answers are not wonderful.

It’s a good story, marred for me by the director’s insistence of making it all look “arty” by composing the black and white shots so that all the action is happening in the bottom half of the frame, often even the bottom quarter, and sometimes even cutting off the bottoms of the faces. And I say phooey to that. That the camera never moves is a minor annoyance compared to that.