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Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

Popiól i diament (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 29 May 1961 (USA)
As WWII and the German occupation ends, the Polish resistance and the Russian forces turn on each other in an attempt to take over leadership in Communist Poland.

Director:

Andrzej Wajda

Writers:

Jerzy Andrzejewski (novel), Jerzy Andrzejewski (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zbigniew Cybulski ... Maciek Chelmicki
Ewa Krzyzewska ... Krystyna
Waclaw Zastrzezynski ... Szczuka
Adam Pawlikowski ... Andrzej
Bogumil Kobiela ... Drewnowski
Jan Ciecierski ... Portier
Stanislaw Milski ... Pieniazek
Artur Mlodnicki ... Kotowicz
Halina Kwiatkowska Halina Kwiatkowska ... Staniewiczowa
Ignacy Machowski ... Waga
Zbigniew Skowronski Zbigniew Skowronski ... Slomka
Barbara Krafftówna ... Stefka (as Barbara Kraftówna)
Aleksander Sewruk ... Swiecki
Zofia Czerwinska ... Barmaid Lili (as Z. Czerwinska)
Wiktor Grotowicz Wiktor Grotowicz ... Franek Pawlicki (as W. Grotowicz)
Edit

Storyline

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 <mrkevvy@pathcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Touched with the fire and rebellion of a new generation of Polish film makers See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish

Release Date:

29 May 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ashes and Diamonds See more »

Filming Locations:

Wroclaw, Dolnoslaskie, Poland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zespól Filmowy "Kadr" See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original: 108')

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked number 99 non-English-speaking film in the critics' poll conducted by the BBC in 2018. See more »

Goofs

Majek is shot in the back while running away from military, but in the following scenes his wounds show only in the chest and not in his back. See more »

Quotes

Krystyna: 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...
Maciek Chelmicki: ...Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond... /The Morning Star of everlasting triumph.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Camera Buff (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53
[Performed by orchestra for celebratory war's end banquet. Name of performers not listed.]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surely the most mature of the trilogy
21 October 1999 | by allyjackSee all my reviews

Surely the most mature of the trilogy; it's certainly the most elliptical and stylistically audacious. At the start, Cybulski is a laidback, coldly cynical assassin who lolls on his back in a field waiting to carry out his latest hit; suffering a crisis of confidence in light of his awakening love for a woman, he flirts with desertion before resigning himself to the demands of his position. His personal journey speaks eloquently to the national trauma, and he's just the most prominent in a complex collection of transition figures, caught on the official last night of the war, now looking forward but not yet able to escape the ravages of war and the attendant moral and psychological confusion, not yet free of potential victimhood (like the mayor's assistant who on learning of his boss' promotion drinks excessively in celebration of his own presumed advancement, but in his disruptive drunkenness kills off what future he had). The ending, intercutting a personal tragedy with the dancers doing the elegant polannaise in the streaming light of dawn, like disembodied Felliniesque figures, perfectly encapsulates the film's mix of toughness and allusiveness.


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