In 1960’s Poland, a young novice nun, Anna, is preparing to make her lifetime vows of poverty, chastity and obedience next week. Before she can join the convent, however, her prioress requires her to seek out her aunt. Anna finds her aunt, Wanda, and learns much of her own history. Anna’s real name is Ida Lebenstein. She was born to a Jewish family during World War 2, and her parents and brother were killed. She was spared by the man who killed them, believing that, because she was an infant, no one would know she was Jewish. He brought her to a priest, and left her there. Now, with the help of her aunt, Ida hunts out her history and works to decide whether she wishes to actually become a nun.
How Does This Connect to Adoption?
Ida reminds me of Closure, in some ways. A young woman travels far in order to uncover her history. Ida also has to decide how to incorporate her history into her future.
Ida’s prioress understands the importance of personal history. Before allowing Ida to choose what to do with her future, the prioress requires her to learn about her past. Ida’s access to her historical information did not come without great effort, and the information that she received was not easy to accept, but it does help her develop a fuller picture of her life, history, identity, and, I believe, her future.
Not every exploration into one’s history is painless. Ida learns that her family was murdered. She sees their grave, and transports their remains to a family grave. Her aunt commits suicide.
Ida is a very well-made movie. It is Poland’s official entry into the Best Foreign-Language Film category for the upcoming Academy Awards. It’s sad and thoughtful. I also felt personally drawn to this film because I am Polish, and it’s actually through my adoption work that I became interested in learning more about my Polish heritage. The film has received very solid critical and popular reviews. I found it a bit slow and sad for my taste, and also, perhaps, a little confusing. On the other hand, I do appreciate the invitation to travel with a young adult who fully explores her past before making commitments for her future. The film isn’t rated, but is probably best geared towards audiences 15 and up. The film is widely accessible online; check out its site to see it. http://www.musicboxfilms.com/ida-movies-98.php
Questions for Discussion
How does your understanding of your family’s past impact your identity? How does your self-identity impact the decisions you make for the future?
Here's the trailer:
Here's the trailer: