“I knew I didn’t want to make it like a normal narrative film where it’s all about story. I wanted it to be more like a meditation.”
Collier interview by Shelia Roberts
“The real inspiration for how [Ida] looks was my impatience with cinema, where the vein of cinema is going. I wanted to make an anti-cinema film where there are no pointless camera moves, no pointless close-ups. I’m not emotionally excited by the power of cinema’s tricks anymore. Maybe it’s my personal midlife crisis. I’d love to see something that was calm and meditative, where you suggest more than show, where each kind of shot has some kind of density and tension, not just in the drama and the acting, but in the visuals, and where acting and image and sound are all part of the same thing. When I watch most films, with some exception, I always ask myself: ‘Why is the camera moving? Why is there a close-up now? Why does this have to be handheld now?’ It was a way of purifying, getting rid of habits, and doing something really simply. Looking at a picture, contemplating it, while not really reading the emotional charge. But staying away from the kind of cinema rhetoric that I’m finding myself more and more impatient with. Maybe it’s my last film, like a farewell to my career—although I don’t have much of a career.”
Pawel Pawlikowski (Director/co-writer Ida)
Interview in Film Comment by Violet Lucca
Just about a year ago, in my post ‘State of Cinema’, I quoted filmmaker Steven Soderbergh from his talk at the 2013 San Francisco International Film Festival where he said, “Whenever I despair I think, OK, somebody out there somewhere, while we’re sitting right here, somebody out there somewhere is making something cool that we’re going to love, and that keeps me going.”
As those words were spoken, Pawlikowski was somewhere in Poland working on Ida. I don’t know if Pawlikowski ever watched Soderbergh’s talk, or if Soderbergh has seen Ida—but I’d like to think that at some point those two will be sitting together in a cafe in Warsaw, or a bar in Baton Rouge, talking about cinema.
“I never made films like kind of career moves, like making this film in order to make that film in order to end up in Hollywood. “
Ironically, Pawlikowski is now scheduled to direct Godzilla vs. Spider-Man. Kidding.
P.S. I know a little more about anti-heroes and anti-piracy than anti-cinema, but a quick Internet search connected a short list of filmmakers some associate with anti-cinema; Yasujirō Ozu, Andy Warhol, Lars von Trier, and Carl Dreyer.
One film that resonates with Ida is Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). A film where Roger Ebert said, “To see Renee Maria Falconetti…is to too look into eyes that will never leave you,” and Pauline Kael said, “Perhaps the finest performance ever recorded on film.”
Scott W. Smith
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