Ida, the Polish film about Anna, a young novitiate nun is a triumph in visual storytelling, evidenced by its Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography. There's so much to be said about the film's incredible visual style, from its use of black and white to its 1:33 aspect ratio, but there's much more that adds weight and substance to the story.
The filmmakers' clever use of costuming, use of color, and framing allows Anna's story to unfold in subtle, unconventional ways, making her inner battle of finding her identity both a delicate and powerful experience. These aspects and more are analyzed in this intriguing video essay by Steven Vredenburgh.
As beautifully composed as Ida is, framing was clearly not the only cinematic method used by director Pawel Pawlikowski and DPs Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal to communicate Anna's struggle to find herself. Lighting, costuming, makeup, aspect ratio -- they all work together to speak to your audience. It's an important lesson to learn, as filmmakers, that we have more tools at our disposal than we think we have to construct the stories we want to tell.
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In a piece published in the Guardian, Pawlikovski also explains how set backs, bad weather, breaking the rules and film crew leaving also shaped the development of Ida (Originally from a talk at the NFTS)
February 16, 2015 at 9:04PM
No! It's all about the camera I purchase. Once I have the perfect camera then everything I do will be awesome. Talent is irrelevant.
February 17, 2015 at 4:23PM
Dunno why you're being downvoted. I got the joke.
February 18, 2015 at 11:23AM
It's an amazing film, I thought. In the realm of intimidating. As in, "No matter how hard I try, I'd never be able to make something that good."
February 18, 2015 at 3:37PM
May 25, 2016 at 10:44AM
Great video essay, and an amazing, beautiful film. The Birdman train is unstoppable at this point so while it will never win, I'm at least happy that Ida got a nomination in the Cinematography category, and am very much rooting for it in the Best Foreign Language category at the Oscars!
February 17, 2015 at 9:27PM
Nice essay. Very clear and thorough.
NoFilmSchool should have included SPOILER ALERT in the headline!
February 18, 2015 at 3:56AM, Edited February 18, 3:56AM