All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. 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.”
Cyprian Norwid's poem contains the life of this film all in a few short verses. It summarizes everything that Wajda wanted to translate to his audience. This is the third and final film in his famous war trilogy and while I personally do not think its the best of the three it is still a bold statement to end with.…
My first Wajda film, and the stunning direction and cinematography are the first things to stand out. The tale of a revolutionary's night with a barmaid, set against the backdrop of the end of German occupation in Poland. Moving, suspenseful and sharply politicial all at once.
(Also, is there any way Letterboxd can switch out the stupid poster for this one?)
Particularly interesting cinematography, camera angles, editing, lighting and composition. Well acted and good story.
Perfection. A perfect use of the film language. The photography is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Full of symbolism and perfect performances. I have to say it one more time, but the visual narrative is something extremely original. The plot is turned into a poetic view of idealism and love. Wajda one more time show us that idealisms in humans are one of the most beautiful and destructive behaviours we can have. Enjoyable in every aspect.
The Morning Star of everlasting triumph.
upside down christ
One of the great post WW2 films, even as it was made in 1958 (hey, it took some time for Poland to come back)
'Ashes and Diamonds' is a truly fantastic movie that has a lot to say about society and war. It's a masterpiece of its time.
Few films from this era really work for me this well. It bares a lot of resemblance to 'Breathless' (1960), but this is a lot better in my eyes. The violence feels very real, aside from the occasional exaggeration that came as a convention to films like this. It's just tense and authentic.
A lot of the themes and messages in this film are fantastic. It's all about the corruption and confusion of youth, the pursuit of freedom through violence, the cyclical process of destruction. Most of the themes come back to the futility of war.…
Easy to follow story and strong direction & photography. Some of the major plot points rely on characters being incredibly stupid though.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 196/776 (25%)