18-year-old Anna (stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska), a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is ordered to visit her sole living relative before taking her vows. Naïve, innocent Anna soon meets her outspoken aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that Anna's real name is Ida and her parents were Jews murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past.
Acclaimed filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) returns to his native land to make his first Polish film, a moving and intimate drama about a young novice nun in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows, is told a dark family secret dating from the terrible years of the Nazi occupation.
Powerfully written, mesmerizingly acted and eloquently shot in austere black-and-white, Ida is personal, intimate and human—and also a masterful evocation of a challenging historical dilemma—resulting in one of the most affecting films of the year. (Polish, fully subtitled. 80 minutes.)