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Music Box Takes Stateside Rights to Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Ida' (TRAILER)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! September 26, 2013 at 12:50PM

UPDATE: Following its French acquisition by Memento, Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida," which impressed at both Telluride and Toronto, has found US and Canadian distribution with Music Box Films. A release in the late second quarter of 2014 is planned.
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"Ida"
"Ida"

UPDATE: Following its French acquisition by Memento, Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida," which impressed at both Telluride and Toronto, has found US and Canadian distribution with Music Box Films. A release in the late second quarter of 2014 is planned.

EARLIER: Paris-based Memento Films has acquired Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida," a drama set in 1962 Poland that riveted audiences in Telluride, for distribution in France and French-speaking territories. Played by newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska, the title character is a young woman who makes unexpected discoveries about her Jewish heritage before taking vows as a Catholic nun, and so she goes on a journey with her aunt to uncover her roots.

Polish director Pawlikowski previously helmed the intense erotic drama and BAFTA winner "My Summer of Love" (2004). The black-and-white "Ida" screened at Telluride but will make its official world premiere at TIFF on September 7 before heading to the BFI London Film Festival in October. Three reviews rounded up from Telluride, below.

Variety

The film invites audiences to undertake a parallel journey while withholding much of the context (historical backstory as well as basic cinematic cues, like music and camera movement) on which engagement typically depends. It's one thing to set up a striking black-and-white composition and quite another to draw people into it, and dialing things back as much as this film does risks losing the vast majority of viewers along the way, offering an intellectual exercise in lieu of an emotional experience to all but the most rarefied cineastes.

Wall Street Journal

If the plot sounds schematic, the film is anything but. It's another odyssey, also in black-and-white, a trip taken by niece and aunt to find out what happened to Ida's parents during World War II. The literally square screen -- so figuratively square as to seem revolutionary -- is often bottom-weighted: space at the top, heads and shoulders down below. The result is a sense of flesh-and-blood people firmly grounded in their environments. "Ida" is a testament to how much more less can be, and to the power of impassioned performances. Stripped of superfluous technique, this exquisite feature explores national as well as personal identity, and the need for belief in a bewildering world.

New York Times:

“Ida” is the first Polish-language feature directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, whose previous movies (notably “The Last Resort” and “My Summer of Love”) have made him one of the bright lights of British cinema. This movie is dark, both visually and thematically, as Mr. Pawlikowski uses a monochrome palette and a boxy, old-fashioned aspect ratio to capture the gloom of 20th-century Polish history and the glimmers of hope that managed to persist. The story of a young woman preparing to take her vows and become a Catholic nun, “Ida” touches on both the legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism with apt sorrow and an equally apt touch of fatalistic humor.

This article is related to: News, Reviews, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, IDA


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.