Set in Communist Poland in 1962, Ida is the hauntingly beautiful story of a family’s search for truth. Having been dropped off at a convent as a young child, Ida (played by Agata Trzebuchowska) grew up amongst nuns in the Catholic church, unsuspecting and accepting of her upbringing. As Ida prepares to take her vows to become a full nun, the Mother Superior orders her to meet her only living relative before staying at the convent forever.
Ida journeys to the city where she meets her mother’s promiscuous sister, Wanda Gruz (played by Agata Kulesza) although Wanda is very cold and unwelcoming towards her niece. In a brief conversation, Wanda reveals to Ida that she is Jewish, and that her parents were murdered during the war.
As Ida prepares to return to the covent, Wanda decides that they should search for their family’s remains to give closure to their grim past.
Ida expolores the long-term destruction of war and the difficult decisions and experiences delt with to find closure. Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida was well recieved at many festivals- including Toronto International Film Festival and Winston Salem’s own RiverRun Film Festival.
Even though the film is relatively short with a running time of only 80 minutes, it beautifully speaks in black and white of paths that can be taken- making it to possibly become a modern classic.
As one of the most anticipated films of the summer, Gia Coppola (grand-daughter of Frances Ford Coppola) breaks into the filmmaking business with Palo Alto. Based on short stories by James Franco, Palo Alto explores the highs and lows of relationships between high schoolers in Southern California. April (Emma Roberts), is desired by her friend Teddy, (played by newcomer Jack Kilmer). Even though both have feelings for each other, April is lured into a relationship with her overly supportive soccer coach, Mr. B, as played by James Franco. Teddy and his risky best friend, Fred (Nat Wolff) spend their time at high school parties drinking, doing drugs, and having sex, even though Teddy thinks only of April the whole time. However, Teddy’s poor decisions land him with extensive community service and a juvenile record. James Franco’s collection of Short Stories are from his experiences growing up in Palo Alto. Students from Palo Alto High School also shared experiences that are included in the writing. Palo Alto explores the adolescent journey fairly accurately, speaking as a 17 year old myself. Gia Coppola creates scenes that seamlessly drifts the interconnected stories of the characters together. Palo Alto reminded me of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation with the music and stylings of cinematography, but yet Palo Alto still held it’s own with a unique and original feel. Overall, Palo Alto transcends adolescence, both with the story and with the acting and directing. With excellent performances by Roberts and Kilmer and an outstanding directoral debut by Coppola, we can expect strong performances by all in the future. Palo Alto is definitely a must see film for this summer and will be screening at a/perture cinema starting on Friday, June six. A/perture cinema is the only theater showing, so do not miss your chance to see this outstanding film.