During the German occupation noble, bourgeois and worker's partisan groups lived in peace with another. On the first day of freedom they start to fight each other. In these fights is weaved a most tender love story.
At the turn of the century, Lodz, Poland was a quick-paced manufacturing center for textiles, replete with cutthroat industrialists and unsafe working conditions. Three young friends, a ... See full summary »
A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. ... See full summary »
In 1976, a young woman in Krakow is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of a 1950s bricklayer, Birkut, who was briefly a proletariat hero, at how that heroism was... See full summary »
A young doctor is tired of being sought by women. One night he meets a young girl who all but forces herself into his room where they talk of morals and love. But he loses her when he goes ... See full summary »
Set at the turn of the century, the story concerns a Polish poet living in Cracow who has decided to marry a peasant girl. The wedding is attended by a heterogenous group of people from all... See full summary »
Action opens in November of 1793, with Danton returning to Paris from his country retreat upon learning that the Committee for Public Safety, under Robespierre's incitement, has begun a ... See full summary »
Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice. Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies ... See full summary »
Maciek, a young Resistance fighter, is ordered to kill Szczuka, a Communist district leader, on the last day of World War II. Though killing has been easy for him in the past, Szczuka was a fellow soldier, and Maciek must decide whether to follow his orders. Written by
Kevin Dorner <email@example.com>
Because of the film's nihilistic tone, the Polish authorities were not keen on it being exhibited outside of the country. Until a low-level official had a print shipped out to the Venice Film Festival where it played to great acclaim. See more »
Glasses of vodka are set alight which burn for an unnaturally long length of time and with a bigger flame than expected, suggesting a purer fuel was used in the film, such as petrol. Moreover, when the final flame dies (c.41 minutes) no liquid remains in the glass. Only the alcohol content is flammable in any glass of spirit and a residue of water would be left behind with even the very strongest of Polish vodkas. See more »
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.
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First, I've read a book by Jerzy Andrzejewski and then I've seen the movie. After that, I never went back to the book. It was not because it was bad, quite the contrary - it was very good. But the movie by Andrzej Wajda is definitely a masterpiece of Polish movie-making. The main plot of the movie revolves around Maciek Chelmicki, a young idealist who fought against the Germans and then turned to fight against the Communists. He is sent to kill Szczuka, one of The Party's middle rank administrators, by the Polish underground.That's the plot. The movie itself is about a lot of important things, common to all people (but I believe the Polish people will find a few of them more emotionally binding):
1. Nothing is black or white, everything is just a shade of gray
2. Is death, no matter how you try to justify it, senseless?
3. Is it better to live, while on your knees or die standing straight? Or maybe it's better to try to live standing straight?
4. That sometimes it's not war that is hell, it's living through war and trying to live a normal life that is a lot harder (thank God I do not know if it is so)
Wajda's movie doesn't give direct answers to any of these questions - each person may watch the movie from a different point of view and get to a totally different conclusion. But even if you're not into psychological movies about war, or noir-movies (and Popiol i Diament is definitely a sort of a noir-movie) it's worth watching for just one scene - the burning vodka glasses at the bar - Cybulski at his best.
And lastly - the motto of the movie (and of the book as well):
"Will ash and chaos be left in the end, that follows a storm into abyss Or may a diamond be found in the ash, a dawn of an everlasting victory"
Cyprian Kamil Norwid
PS: I hope Mr Norwid will not turn in his grave at the quality of my translation but that part of a poem by CK Norwid sums up the movie really well.
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