ABSTRACT

In its exploration of Polish society during and after the Second World War, Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2012) shows the destruction of lives through ethnic categorization and state control. These limiting and divisive categories are national and cultural, evident in the historical desire to confer stable and fixed borders, religious and ethnic identities. The film’s setting in time and place, Poland in the early 1960s, is pivotal. The context of historical and political events, specifically the effect of the German occupation and annexation of Poland in the Second World War and its inclusion in the Soviet bloc in 1947, is used in Ida as an allegory for the limiting and damaging nature of all forms of categorization on humanity. These historical events are part of the profile of a country whose borders had been redrawn frequently throughout the previous two hundred years. The film contrasts this experience of division and confinement of people and places with the possibility of a future openness which leaves behind rigid definitions.