FOREIGN LANGUAGE (Polish, Latin, French), DRAMA

DIRECTOR: Pawel Pawlikowski CAST: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza, Jerzy Trela, Dawid Ogrodnik, Adam Szyszkowski, Halina Skoczynska

  • Academy Awards
      • Best Foreign Language Film, Best Achievement in Cinematography

RATING – 3.8 out of 10

  • Acting – 6 out of 10
    • Both of the actresses gave good performances, but the entire film had a despondent feeling to it, especially the acting. There were so many scenes were they were just staring off into space, melancholic, while the camera was just on their face for a good fifteen seconds.
  • Writing/Dialogue – NA
    • As with Deux jours, une nuit I cannot possibly rate this fairly because it is a foreign language film and I can neither read nor speak Polish.
  • Cinematography & Art Direction – 7 out of 10
    • I mostly liked the cinematography. I liked that the actors weren’t always centered. What I didn’t like was how long those cuts were.
  • Musical Score & Sound Editing – 1 out of 10
    • The sound editing was terrible. All of the scenes with just dialogue were really, really quiet. I had to turn the volume all the way up and I could still barely hear it (admittedly, it didn’t matter, because they were speaking a language I don’t know, so I was really just reading the subtitles). But then it would cut to another where a band was playing and the music was startlingly loud.
  • Plot/Story – 3 out of 10
    • I honestly don’t understand what the point of this film was. A novitiate nun is tasked by the Mother Superior to learn about what happened to her parents before she takes her vows. So she finds her aunt, a alcoholic ex-judge who doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap, and the two of them embark on quest to find her parents’ graves. But the film continues for another 25 minutes after they find them. Within the latter 25 minutes, the novitiate’s aunt commits suicide, which leads to her deciding not to take her vows and instead spend a weekend smoking, drinking, and having passionate sex. The film finally ends with her returning to the convent. But there is too much time spent on a tried tacit emotional development of the characters that the entire purpose of of the story is lost.
  • Time – 1 out of 10
    • This was the longest 82 minutes of my life. Way too much time was spent on exposing the quiet consternation of the two main characters and too little on actually developing the story. More than once, a scene would cut away to another one and I had no idea how they even got there. For instance, Ida and her aunt her having a conversation in the car. The very next second, their car is being pulled out of a ditch by horses, and then it cuts to them at the police station. Lo and behold! Ida’s aunt had been drinking and driving the entire time. We never saw them crash, and we never saw her take a swig of any alcohol while driving. It just didn’t make any sense, and it the film that much longer!
  • Grandiosity vs. Humility – 5 out of 10
    • I’m not entirely sure how this is up for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Though I’m certain there’s some political and social aspect of it that has garnered its recognition, but this was just… not good, in my opinion. Perhaps if I was Polish or had a better understanding of international current events, I would have understood its purpose…

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