- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 43 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Released: June 16, 2009
- Originally Released: 1958
- Label: Criterion
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.66
- Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono - Polish
- Subtitles - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Total Film - 07/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "The film's shot with austere beauty in black and white, yet its moral judgments are anything but simplistic."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2011
"[I]t's canny, engrossing and ice-cool."
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.
The commanding, charismatic Zbigniew Cybulski (dubbed the Polish James Dean) explodes on screen as Maciek, a Polish soldier who on the last day of World War II is ordered to assassinate a Soviet leader who has arrived in town to establish a new government. Directed with stunning dexterity and inventiveness by the visionary Andrzej Wajda, Ashes and Diamonds was the ultimate film expression of Poland's postwar identity crisis and a vital work of a nation's emerging cinema.
Theatrical Release |
World War II
- The print used for the Home Vision Cinema VHS version is from the Janus collection.