Ashes and diamonds

Ashes and diamonds

Popiół i diament

DVD - 2003 | Polish
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Rural Poland, on the last days of World War II. The Nazis have surrendered, and the Red Army has criss-crossed the country. With the battle against the Nazis over, a new struggle emerges against the communists. A group of Polish patriots boldy set out to assassinate a mid-level communist-party functionary. Macick is the trigger man, but when he spots a blonde behind the bar, his priorities change.


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Mar 11, 2016

I highly recommend this Criterion Collection DVD which includes a 35-minute feature of interviews with director Andrej Wadja, second director Janusz Morgenstern, and film critic Jerzy Plazewski. Also available from Criterion are two essays on the movie, one by Daniel Gerould, the other by Paul Coates.

I also highly recommend the book, written by Jerzy Andrzejewski, but if that's not available this movie is a great adaptation of it.

Since the summary presented above is adequate, I'll mention the two general topics raised in the book and film. The first subject presents the chaos in Poland at the end of World War II (May 1945 for the European theater). The second asks the question how should a man be judged for his actions during crisis situations such as war or confinement? Both are extremely complex topics with no easy answers.

Parts of the movie are heavy-handed in the symbolism, and Zbigniew Cybulski’s portrayal as Chelmicki shows his love of James Dean a little too much in his "Look how much I'm feeling" approach. As I've said, though, I still highly recommend both the book and the novel because of the complex subjects they raise and the way they present them.

Jun 30, 2011

The book is way better. This movie is of historical significance, but it getting pretty dated.


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