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."
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…
'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.
As far as cinematography, there's a lot of hot shit going on. The shot of Maciek hiding behind the stairs stands out. My absolute favorite is probably when he is hiding behind one of the sheets on a clothesline, then he presses it up against himself to reveal he's been shot.
The story never fully gripped me. First off, the film immediately became less interesting during the times when Zbigniew Cybulski wasn't on screen. All of the supporting characters' stories seem to go nowhere. I understand that they should be present, in order to build the world, but it's about Maciek and he's awesome.
Well-shot, and worth seeing if only to ogle the bartender, but the protagonist - though charming at times - is too indecisive and foolish to be fully worthy of our sympathies.
Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds is one of the finest of all Polish cinema, and neo-realism cinema in general. It's a tragic yet somewhat inspiring meditation on the nature of resistance and the plight of the Polish Home Army with an iconic, James Dean-esque performance from Cybulski.
Scorsese often hails Ashes and Diamonds as one of his all-time favourite films, and it’s very easy to see why. The themes laced through it – those of romantic violence, of tribes at war, of the conflict between conscience, morality and necessity – form the basis of some of his own masterpieces, in which the attitudes and actions of Italian-American gangsters mirror those of the Polish radicals and insurgents at the heart of Wajda’s film.
Based on a novel by Jerzy Andrzejewski and set within the confines of a single day – May 8th 1945, aka VE Day – Ashes and Diamonds tells the story of Maciek (Zbigniew Cybulski) and Andrzej (Adam Pawlikowski), two members…
Second of five films on my mini andrzej Wajda marathon
With the first two films, Wajda explore Poland in time of war, now it's time to explore post-war Poland
Ashes and Diamonds is the story of a plot to assassinate a communist on the rise and rescue Poland from Stalinist influence
What a great movie this is!!! I love the fact that there are no villains. Just two sides with different ideas of what political route Poland must take. Through this movie, Wajda exposes the hope of a generation fresh from fighting a war, in the midst of another battle.
What a great movie!!!
Seen as part of Martin Scorsese Masters of Polish Cinema series.
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, for much of its length is what's sometimes given 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 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 district secretary; at the…
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 196/776 (25%)