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We encounter Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) in the very first shot of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, and come under the influence of her arresting gaze. In this first glimpse of her, she’s studying a new statue of Jesus and dabbing paint on the face. It’s 1962, and Anna is a novitiate in a rural Polish convent, having spent virtually her entire seventeen or eighteen year-long existence in this largely silent, isolated environment as an orphan of undisclosed origins. Soon, her subdued aspect with its potentially intense gaze will have strange new things on which to focus.

Chinese Puzzle

When we first met Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris) 12 years ago in L’Auberge Espagnole (you may have caught it as The Spanish Apartment) he was a graduate student in an overcrowded Barcelona apartment. His roommates were other participants in a cross-European cultural fertilization program, and watching the expansion of Xavier’s worldview made for an engaging comedy as well as an international hit.

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