Paweł Pawlikowski – screen capture from Ida (2013)

Over the last three weeks, I have been geeking out over the im-fucking-peccable Every Frame a Painting series. (Seriously, Tony Zhou has forgotten more about film form than I’ll ever know.)

I’m curious what he’d make of Ida–mostly because I don’t know what to make of it.

For such an ‘uncomplicated’ movie, there are a metric fuck ton of unresolved contradictions.

Also, the compositions are just straight up weird. Not in a bad way–there is a rigorous logic informing them.

  • Pay close attention to how characters are isolated within the frame,
  • In the rare instance where characters are presented together in the same frame, observe how they relate to each other in space?
  • Why do feet appear within the frame so rarely?

In other words: there is clearly a pervasive authorial design to the more outlandish decisions. But to me it reads as an effort to unnecessarily ‘artify’ the proceedings. I adore Ida’s vacillation between her vows as a nun and the carnality of the world inherent in Coltrane’s Naima far too much to hold Pawlikowski’s failings against the film, but still I can’t help wondering what could’ve been if he’d simply played it straight.

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