Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Writer(s): Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Cast: Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik
Running Time: 80 min
18-year old Anna (stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska), a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were 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, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism.
“This is solemn filmmaking, devoutly restrained and unshakably purposeful. We expect its austerity to fend us off, but no; it gathers us in and forbids us to look away” – Anthony Lane, New Yorker
“Within its relatively brief duration and its narrow black-and-white frames, the movie somehow contains a cosmos of guilt, violence and pain.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
“This story of faith and despair is gracefully told, its simple, uncluttered spaces and luminous black-and-white photography harking back to Robert Bresson. – J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader