Sometimes I watch a movie that’s so outstanding, it’s like Mount Everest compared to the usual mountain range of pretty good movies.
This morning I watched Ida, a Polish movie with English subtitles, filmed in black and white, released in 2013, available on Netflix streaming and probably other sites.
Ida is set in Communist Poland during the 1960s, and tells of a young nun whose faith is challenged severely several times. That’s it, folks. There are no car crashes, shootings, fistfights, or entire cities swallowed up by demonic powers. There isn’t even much dialogue. People often are shown doing nothing more than thinking, but this thinking is very moving in the film’s contexts.
There are no angel choruses or rays of light emanating from heaven. This is not the schmaltzy kindergarten view of religion. This is about the struggles and temptations that people of faith sometimes encounter in the real world, and how difficult it is to reconcile the ideals of religion with the confusion and indeed horrors of human life on this planet.
Atheists probably would not consider this film worthwhile, because they believe faith is nothing more than ludicrous superstition. But those of you who have had the experience of God, or who believe without having had the experience, will probably find the film as absorbing as I. This movie has stayed with me all day - I can’t forget it.