The third in Director Andrej Wadja's war trilogy, Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of WW2. The German High Command have issued their unconditional surrender and the Communists quickly fill the vacuum left by Hitler's goose-steppers and set up shop. Warsaw is lousy with rats and not all of them are of the rodent variety as power hungry bureaucrats jostle for position in the new order.Having spent the last half a decade under the Nazi junta; the prospect of a future under Stalin's jackboot is met with keen opposition. Maciek, a resistance fighter, is ordered to kill a local Socialist party official, which he is more than happy to do, but soon discovers he has killed two innocent civilians instead.Maciek books a room at a rundown hotel where his quarry is staying. While he waits for the right moment to make amends he meets and falls in love with the barmaid Krystyna. His connection to the girl leads him to rethink his part in the endless cycle of violence.T…
With WW2 ending, Poland finds itself in a period of transition and transformation. Millions have been uprooted, the country's infrastructure is in ruins, and there is uncertainty as to whether Russian Communists will move in to occupy the vacuum left by the departing Germans. Enter Maciek, a gunman who works for an anti-Communist faction. He's been tasked with assassinating Polish politicians sympathetic to the local communist party, which is what Andrzej Wajda's "Ashes and Diamonds" finds Maciek doing when it opens. His mission complete, Maciek then disappears to a neighbouring town, eager to learn his next assignment. What he learns, however, is something else: he's assassinated the wrong target. The rest of the film finds Maciek struggling to rationalise the killing of his fellow countrymen. The film's title encapsulates Poland's twin possibilities: destruction or prosperity. Maciek will not accept that the latter necessitates the former.The …
At the close of World War II, a Polish partisan who fought in the Resistance feels ambivalent about a new assignment: to assassinate a Communist Party boss considered too sympathetic to the Soviet Union.A dazzling performance by the charismatic Zbigniew Cybulski, who was briefly hailed as Europe's new James Dean, in a work that blends noir elements with the texture of a war film. Haunting, moving, and suffused with the fatigue felt by a man who suffered through a long gruelling conflict. Ashes And Diamonds completed director Andrzej Wajda's war films trilogy, following A Generation (1954) and Kanal (1956).The title comes from a 19th Century poem by Cyprian Norwid and references the manner in which diamonds are formed from heat and pressure acting upon coal.
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