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Ashes and diamonds [videorecording]
Wajda, Andrzej
Adult Fiction Drama POPIOL

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62triplet said:
(1958) 89% (A) (9) NYT Critics' Pick http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=2&res=9D02E0D6153CEE3ABC4850DFB366838A679EDE * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "Andrzej Wajda's adaptation of Jerzy Andrzejewski classic novel comprises the third part of the director's World War II trilogy. Set in the immediate postwar era of 1945, the film stars Zbigniew Cybulski as Maciek Chelmicki, a gunman for the Polish underground. When he and another operative, Andrzej (Adam Pawlikowski), ambush a jeep in which the new Communist party secretary, Szczuka (Waclaw Zastrzezynski), is supposed to be arriving, they find that he was never in the jeep. Maciek's superiors in the underground order him to make another attempt on Szczuka's life, and both Maciek and his target end up checking into the same hotel. While waiting to take down his quarry, Maciek has a fling with a barmaid, Krystyna (Ewa Krzyzanowska), that makes him question his commitment to the cloak-and-dagger life of the underground. A party celebrating the liberation goes on in the ground floor convention room, ironic for Maciek, who knows that a new war is just beginning. At daybreak, he leaves the barmaid and goes to execute his orders. Widely regarded as the best of Wajda's early films, the powerful antiwar statement features extraordinary work by the short-lived Cybulski, often described as the Polish James Dean." CONSENSUS: "This taut political thriller is a fine example of one of the first Polish New Wave films. Beautifully filmed and percolating with the futility of violence, "Ashes and Diamonds" is a treasure of Polish cinema from a master filmmaker." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: Before watching Roman Polanski's "Knife in the Water" (30 Jun 09), reviews of that film had mentioned the other great Polish director, Andrzej Wajda. When this appeared on the new Dvd list, I knew it would be a good one. MY THOUGHTS: A memorable last day of the war (Germany has just surrendered to the Allied forces) is filled with stark b&w images, some symbolic and haunting. Poland is liberated, only to fall into the Soviet camp. This is foreshadowed discretely, because the film was being made under these same Communist oppressors. I recommend this early, and now classic, film. [New purchase by HCL] (Criterion Collection) (Essential Art House series)
posted Jul 21, 2009 at 11:45AM
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