Ashes and Diamonds (Popiol i diament)
Directed by Andrezej Wajda
Written by Jerzy Andrezejewski and Andrezej
Zespol Filmowy “Kadr”
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
#348 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Maciek Chelmicki: …Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond… /The Morning Star of everlasting triumph.
The beauty and power of this film take my breath away.
The film takes place on the day the Germans surrender to the Allies at the end of WWII. The Polish Home Army continues to fight. Maciek is now a soldier and hitman for the nationalists. He takes orders from Andrezej. Their mission is to assassinate a leader of the Communist side. The first attempt goes badly wrong when they kill two innocent men who show up at the wrong place and time.
The group proceed to town to take a second crack at the kindly old man. They find themselves in a hotel where a banquet celebrating the Allied victory is taking place. When Maciek falls for a beautiful barmaid, he has a crisis of conscience.
The story is a simple one but the psychological depth and symbolic representation of warring strains within society are profound. Each frame is composed for maximum impact. The deep-focus photography is stunning. Highly recommended.