All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
Ashes and Diamonds
Maciek and Andrzej, two home army fighters, were paired and ordered to kill an incoming communist party cadre. At the hotel where their target's welcoming party is being held. Maciek meets the barmaid Krystyna and the two have a brief, passionate affair, before he is pulled away from this fleeting happiness into his deadly mission.
The third and last chapter of Andrzej Wajda's thematic (wartime) trilogy (coming after A Generation and Kanal), Ashes and Diamonds, a study on the political and social chaos felt at the end of the WWII, follows the story of Maciek (the protagonist) and Andrzej, who are sent to kill a Polish Communist leader in the last day of the Second World War (in fact, the film is set within one single day, which is the famous day of Germany's surrender). A film that can be seen as a piece of anti-Soviet propaganda, Ashes and Diamonds is, simply put, a masterwork.
It's impossible to not to admire a film that's so fun and yet, feels so relevant, this is what happens…
War torn Poland is the setting for this tale about the power of love. Romantic love and love of country.
Maciek is one cool dude. He wears tinted glasses, a military coat, and a devil-may-care hair style. He is a Polish Peter Fonda. We are introduced to Maciek as he is attempting to assassinate a political figure. He is part of an underground revolution movement. I say attempting because the people he brutally kills end up being the wrong people. They were just passing through the wrong place at the wrong time.
Maciek soon discovers his mistake and volunteers to right his wrong by killing the correct man latter that night. That is, until he meets Krystyna. She is a…
End of an era
Looking into the unknown.
Shifting alliances push for power
While the young search for meaning.
Andrzej Wajda frames Polish youth in the fog of post-war disillusion as they rub up against the old guard in the shifting sands of the newly liberated Communist Poland. With an assassination plot in full force from the opening frames, we are drawn into the world of a young partly cool, partly goofy hit-man named Maciek as he battles a moral quandary about his nominated profession and the job at hand. Many scenes and shots are rich and iconic, with some being downright jaw-dropping (The fireworks scene comes to mind), but ultimately it didn't do quite enough for me on one viewing to fly its flag as high as gunrunners like Martin Scorsese who lists it as one of the…
Seen as part of a selection of Polish films by Martin Scorsese, and at the risk of triteness I can see a lot of this movie's influence on his work - the mix of flashy, old Hollywood expressionism with cold, hard reality with a liberal dose of religious imagery is pretty close to his signature style.
It also reminded me of von Sternberg, particularly in a gorgeous sequence made up exclusively of a series of close-ups of two lovers' faces (sorry for using the word "lovers" but as they say, sometimes "lovers" is all we have). But the visuals in this are flat-out gorgeous throughout, so much so that I kept waiting for them to detach from the narrative and fly off of this Earth completely.
"So often, are you as a blazing torch with flames
of burning rags falling about you flaming,
you know not if flames bring freedom or death.
Consuming all that you must cherish
if ashes only will be left, and want Chaos and tempest
Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond
The Morning Star of everlasting triumph."
Ashes and Diamonds is my first film of the acclaimed Polish filmmaker, Andrzej Wajda. This 1958 feature was based on the novel by Jerzy Andrzejewski and is the final film of the trilogy which includes "A Generation" and "Kanal". Considered by many as the greatest Polish film…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond?
Popiol I Diament, the third installment of Wajda's War Trilogy completed by the Polish director in the '50s, is, for much of his length, what in similar films I saw used the definition film meditation.
We watch two lovers, who, in their exchanges, basically meditate about how crazy the world has become.
There are two action episodes that all considered really hold key/central relevance: Maciek (Zbigniew Cybulski) a young memeber of the Polish Resistance, and the male character in the meditating couple, at the beginning of the movie, on the last day of World War II, May 8, 1945, fails an assassination attempt targeting a newly appointed Communist Party…
Life is dangerous.
Such a very cool old picture. It comes Scorsese recommended and doesn't disappoint.
I came to this film with little preconception, knowing only that it was included in Martin Scorsese's Masterpieces of Polish Cinema. I was thoroughly surprised, though the word 'masterpiece' should have tipped me off, because that's exactly what this film is.
In ASHES AND DIAMONDS, the war may have ended, but the espionage and counter-insurgence has not. Our anti-hero, Maciek, finds himself doubting not only his assignment, but the life he is leading. While we mainly follow his perspective, we see small but illuminating glimpses into other lives who are involved on the periphery. By focusing on individuals rather than the larger political drama, the film perfectly captures the useless chaos of war and politics, and makes us feel it.…
Youthful broken promises and a never ending cul-de-sac lead to questions of duty.
Saw this at the BFI in NFT1 with Parthamy. John was there and there was an introduction by a woman.
Welles meets Renoir and it's every bit as good as either. The cinematography & performances marry perfectly. #see
Very impressive from Wajda. He's brought back the harsh realities of the era, whilst showing the communist and nationalist perspective, even showing the aristocracy who wanted to keep the old traditional ways. Thoughtful and very well done
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 194/776 (25%)