Pawel Pawlikowski

Poland, 2013



Looking for identity and Self-awareness


Religion choices, situation of Jews in Poland after World War II


“Own” vs. “Other”. The Picture of Social Divide on the Basis of the Paweł Pawlikowski Film Ida.
Author: Adam Rębacz
The course of the lesson:
Preliminary stage (10 minutes)
The teacher explains what a local community is. S/he explains the terms: “own” and “other” in the context of the film, introduces the story told in the film.
The exercise (for individual or pair work) Find two pairs of the Ida film heroes with different social backgrounds, forced by the circumstances to cooperate, to hold a dialogue or to confront their views, and then answer the questions.
• How are the characters different?
• Why do they meet?
• What is the significance of their backgrounds and pasts for the development of the relation between
the heroes?
• Who, according to the director, is “own”, and who is “the other” for the protagonists?

The predicted pairs
• Wanda Gruz and Ida Lebenstein;
• Ida Lebenstein and ‘Lis’ the saxophonist;
• Wanda Gruz and Szymon Skiba;
• Wanda Gruz and Feliks Skiba.
In order to facilitate work the teacher divides the students into groups of three or four.
Each team prepare their opinion for the discussion – to answer three questions:
1. What are, based on the Ida film, the reasons for hostility towards people other than their community?
2. What are, based on the Ida film, advantages and dangers of getting to know “the other” (“Alien”)?
3. Is de-hierarchization of world and culture a positive or a negative phenomenon?


Tadeusz Sobolewski
A Barn With a Stained-Glass Window, Tadeusz Sobolewski about “Ida”

“When you watch Ida, set at the beginning of the 1960s, in the times of twist, Helena Majdaniec, and Karin Stanek, you can feel the atmosphere of that cinema. Pawlikowski managed to perform a unique transplant. He combined depth and tragic nature of the Polish school cinema with today’s freedom of speech. Today, at least theoretically, there are no historical taboos any more. Everything can be revealed, the past can be dealt with,
and you can indicate the guilty one. Divided Poles talk to each other, pointing out each other’s guilt. Pawlikowski’s films provides a completely new perspective.”

Agnieszka Graff
“Ida” – Subtlety and Politics


Instead of reflection on history, we only get privacy, God, and daring camerawork. Ida treats the post-Holocaust trauma and Stalinism not as subjects but pretexts and background. “This is what Ida is about: not about the Polish People’s Republic, Jews, Catholics and Communists, but about two women,” enthuses Sobolewski. Well, I’m not so delighted with this aestheticised and privatised version of history.

Agata Bielik-Robson
It’s a Mistake to Treat “Ida” as a Polish Film


I’m not going to debate this film because it would go beyond the scope of more than one feature. I’ll sum it up in one sentence: I think that the basic mistake of the home reception of Ida was the automatic assumption that it was a Polish film. Polish, meaning set in Polish disputes, Polish issues, Polish stakes, and Polish dreams; talking about Polish peasants, Polish Jews, Polish communists, and Polish Church.

Hubert Orzechowski
Newsweek Polska
Excellent “Ida” by Paweł Pawlikowski


“Ida” raises the issue of the Holocaust from the perspective which has been recently frequently adopted in the Polish cinema. The film shows the beginning of the 1960s, while the awareness and actions of heroes reflect the year 2013. Those criticising the film see (…) stereotypical characters (both Jews and Poles), biased blaming of the
whole society for personal guilt as well as a structure that conceals banality and clichéd solutions under cover of an artistic style.




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