Pawel Pawlikowski has a solid reputation in Europe — especially Britain, for award-winners such as “Summer of Love” (2004) and “Last Resort” (2000). But after spending his entire film career away from home, Pawlikowski returned to his native Poland to try something different. “Ida” is the result: The starkly elegant tale of a young woman’s journey of self-discovery in Poland in 1960.
Shot in gorgeous black and white, “Ida” traces the life of orphan Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) as she prepares to take the final vows to become a nun. Before she does, the mother superior tells Anna that she has an aunt, Wanda (Agata Kulesza), and that Anna should pay her a visit. The initial meeting between the two women is strikingly devoid of emotion — even chilling. But you can feel that this moment is a monumental event in both these women’s lives.