‘Ida’, a film co-produced by Eric Abraham, the owner and founding producer of the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, has won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This is the second Academy Award for Abraham after winning the golden statuette for his film ‘Kolya’ in 1996.
A black and white film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski and written by himself and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, ‘Ida’ has earned Pawlikowski his first Oscar and is the first Polish foreign language film to win the coveted prize. Accepting the award, Pawlikowski thanked Abraham and all those involved in the making and success of the film, saying: “We make a film about silence and withdrawing from the world and the need for contemplation – and here we are, at the epicentre of world noise and attention. Fantastic – life is full of surprises.”
Ida stars Agata Kulesza, Dawid Ogrodnik and Agata Trzebuchowska. It is set in Poland in 1962, and is about a young woman on the verge of taking vows as a Catholic nun. Orphaned as an infant during the German occupation of World War ll, she must now meet her aunt. The former Communist state prosecutor and only surviving relative tells her that her parents were Jewish. The two women embark on a road trip into the Polish countryside to learn the fate of their family. Called a “compact masterpiece” and an “eerily beautiful road movie”, the film has also been said to “penetrate the darkest, thorniest thickets of Polish history, reckoning with the crimes of Stalinism and the Holocaust”.
Aside from winning numerous awards in Poland, Ida was selected as Best Film of 2014 by the European Film Academy and as Best Film Not in the English Language of 2014 by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).\
Speaking from Los Angeles, a delighted Eric Abraham said,”…It’s wonderful when the underdog triumphs. A small short black and white film in Polish about two women who go on a road trip to learn about who they are and where they come from. ‘Ida’ seems to have touched people across the barriers of language and culture in over thirty countries so far and restores my faith in the appetite for films that make us think and feel about the human condition. South Africa has so many such stories waiting to be told on film.”
* The Fugard Theatre will be the first theatre in Africa to screen this acclaimed film, on Saturday, March 21, at 7.30pm.
Tickets at R100 will be available from the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or via Computicket.