Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film 2015
“Lord, grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
-St. Augustine of Hippo
It’s a shame that what was intuitive to a 4th Century North African dude is largely ignored by the Roman Catholic Church today.
The Church has taken a lot of heat for its sex crime cover up. But no one seems to ask why it is that so many Catholic clergy have a predilection for evil deviant sex.
To Saint Augustine, the answer was obvious: they didn’t have enough fun in their teens and 20s. As a young man in Roman Algeria, Augustine partied hard and womanized. When he got it all out of his system, he was ready to settle down, take the cloth, and become the second most influential writer in Christian history (behind Paul).
Basically, a man who takes his vow of celibacy without sewing his wild oats first thinks that he is more holy and disciplined than St. Augustine. Many of them are right. But some of the ones who are wrong become perverse pedophiles and destroy people’s lives.
“Ida” is the tale of a young Polish woman who isn’t going to make that mistake.
When we meet Ida (Agata Trzebuchowska) in 1962, she is about to become a nun. She is an orphan raised in a convent and has only known a life of stoic obedience.
Just before Ida is about to take her vows, the Abbess drops a bomb shell: Ida is Jewish and her parents were killed in World War II.
Intrepid Ida goes off into the world for the first time to track down her only living relative – her sassy, bitter lawyer Aunt. Quiet Ida and her angry aunt take a road trip to a small country town to confront the guys who murdered their family.
Most people think that the Holocaust happened at Auschwitz and Treblinka but that’s only partially true. “The Final Solution” isn’t just a catchy code name. Before the Concentration Camps were built, millions of Jews were killed right in their hometowns – mostly by their neighbors.
When German soldiers took over towns in Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, they gave the locals a choice. They basically said: “you guys can kill the Jews around here and farm their land and steal their stuff. If you don’t, you won’t get any loot and we’ll be ticked off.”
The truth is that Nazi mass murder required the cooperation of the local population. That explains how virtually 100% of the Jews in Estonia were killed while over 99% of Danish and Swedish Jews survived the war. They steadfastly refused to turn on their Jewish neighbors. No wonder Bernie Sanders likes Scandinavians so much.
After digging up the bones of her parents and facing the harsh reality of death, poor Ida is ready to experience a little bit of life.
She goes out to a Warsaw jazz club and meets a suave young musician. Their affair is brief but emotionally satisfying. After getting a real taste of love and sex, Ida is ready to head back to the convent with confidence and take her vows.
I don’t quite get why “Ida” won the Academy Award. It has very little dialogue and is a little boring at times. I’m not sure I can even recommend the film to straight female viewers. There are a lot of scenes that are just tight shots of Ida as she slowly goes through her trauma and emotional awakening. Agata Trzebuchowska’s silent, beautiful, expressive face is literally half the movie.
It’s not my place to tell clergymen what they should and shouldn’t do. But I genuinely think that the world would be a better place if holy men went out of their way to enjoy a healthy sex life before trying to give up sexuality forever. If it’s good enough for Ida and St. Augustine, it’s good enough for your local Parish Priest.