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…
Ashes and Diamonds is visually stunning, every frame is pure porn for the audience's eyes, with a gorgeous black and white photography due to its extremely beautiful lighting, with a marvelous camera work and a few long takes. But that's the least, everything is cool, with a perfect waggish dialogue with tons of cultural references to the second world war which is pretty interesting, with extremely dark and funny characters — I love directors who can make good humor out of serious themes — and it still goes through a very deep and perfectly crafted character study, making it one of my ten favorite films.
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.
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
Very much like Ida in that it was beautifully shot, with some striking imagery, but also rather slow. Also contained the longest death scene I've seen in a very long time. Pleased to have seen it.
I'm under the gun again.
I know I was a 45 percenter then.
I know I was a lot of things.
But I am good. I am grounded.
Davy says that I look taller.
But I can't get my head around it.
I keep feeling smaller and smaller.
I keep feeling smaller and smaller.
If foreign cinema was more popular in the US, that picture of Maciek holding the gun would be ingrained in our pop culture lore. Much like certain images of James Dean or Humphrey Bogart are. Zbigniew Cybulski (Maciek) was the James Dean of Polish cinema. He, like Dean, died young (39) in a train incident (Dean a car accident). His character is another portray that was birthed from 'cool'.
Ashes and Diamonds has a strong story basis but the film is elevated by the character Maciek. He battles with life decisions throughout the film. The viewer is left hanging with Maciek, caring deeply about his outcome.
I wasn't so in awe with Ashes and Diamonds after I watched it. But the more days passed, the more I thought about it. And the more I appreciated it for the gem that it was.
This film, the third in Wajda's war trilogy, revolves around a disillusioned soldier. His conscience and his new found love interest weigh against his duty, to kill a Communist minister. Wajda uses great irony throughout the film, most notably when he and the minister embrace towards the end of the film. The cinematography in Ashes and Diamonds is, to put it simply, brilliant as he supplants political censorship with the dazzling cinematography. Wajda once stated that "that there were always ways of getting round political censorship but no way to avoid the censorship of money," which he does masterfully in this film.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 190/768 (25%)…