#CougsatSundance: ‘Ida’

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Director Pawel Pawlikowski at the Premiere of 'Ida' at Sundance
Director Pawel Pawlikowski at the Premiere of ‘Ida’ at Sundance

An exploration of faith and the transition of a conflicted society is shown in the Sundance 2014 Premiere of the international film “Ida.”

The film, set in 1960’s Poland, shows a young novitiate nun who is on the verge of taking her vows when she learns of a dark family secret. The discovery leads Ida to find her only living relative, an aunt whom she never knew existed, and the two women take a journey back in time to the years of the Nazi occupation.

Director of the film Pawel Pawlikowski said the inspiration for the film came from many different sources.

“You always have three or four different ideas at the same time, and then it eventually all comes together,” Pawlikowski said. “The idea came partly from a reflection on the Jews in Poland and a desire to fulfill my lifelong dream of making a film in Poland.”

The character of Wanda, Ida’s estranged aunt, had been on Pawlikowski’s mind for years.

“I was haunted by the character of Wanda for a long time,” he continued. “The story of this woman who was once a Marxist hardcore fanatic, that loses her faith, was interesting to me. Wanda’s character and Ida’s character of a young woman testing her faith make together in my mind to develop a rich cultural film.”

The film was set in black in white in order to show the best version of this story, according to the film producers.

Screenwriters Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz at the Premiere of 'Ida' at Sundance
Screenwriters Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz at the Premiere of ‘Ida’ at Sundance

“We wanted the film to be in black and white and not to have a lot of dialogue,” Pawlikowski said. “We wanted to hint at things but not outright explain them.”

Strong female characters were a strong point in the film, according to screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz.

“We enjoyed writing characters of woman who had a strong story,” she said. “A big theme in the film was the story and relationship between the two women.”

So far the premiere of “Ida” has been received with enthusiasm.

“I just thought the film was fabulous,” said John Agristo, a man attending the film from Santa Fe, N.M. “My wife and I have been to eight or so films already at the Sundance Film Festival, and this is up there as one of our favorites. I think this film has a lot of potential.”

“Ida” will be released through Music Box in the spring and available throughout the world online.

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