Perhaps my greatest pleasure came from it being in black and white. There is something magical in the decision to put colors aside. Every day we see them around us, every minute, but on some very special cases one gets the chance to sit in a dark room for 80 minutes and just imagine. Hear that Ida has beautiful red hair.
Or not even that, simply enjoy the lights coming and going. And indeed the lights are powerful, otherwise an image of a car on its way back from a Polish forest changing its shades back and forth every other second would not be ingrained in my mind. The face of the driver revealing itself only to later disappear and do it all over again would not be running in front of my eyes as I write.
The shapes. These perfect geometrical scenes of simple staircases and dining halls. A scene perfectly composed can give meaning to almost everything it wishes to show. I do not know why it is so. I can only assume that my mind can relate to the lines that form together and create a movement in the stillest image.
A clicking sound of spoons against plates. The bland white plates with the bland gray food being consumed by the white-gray mysterious nuns. This sound fills the room so that I, the viewer, have no other choice but to focus on Ida’s looks across the long table. This sound restricts me, it gives me no choice but to remember the scene and notice the difference in Ida’s eyes when it appears again.
An aunt who lost her son in World War II. An aunt which had been revealed to Ida for three single days. An aunt who dances, drinks, finds men in the nights to keep them until the morning and listens to Mozart. The same Mozart that is present there when she decides to jump from her window. That is exactly the way Ida said goodbye, only instead of jumping she came back to the monastery. One of the greatest goodbyes I have ever seen.
This movie did not require any words and even when it chose to use them they were carefully counted. Thank you Paweł Pawlikowski.
Written by Maayan Agmon
Edited by Maria Tirnovanu