Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds) Reviews

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September 24, 2016
What a fantastic War film from Andrej Wadja from 1958. Takes place in Poland right at the very end of WWII, when various Polish group begin infighting. It deals with an assassination attempt, but is so much more, including a romance. The cinematography is absolutely stunning. The story is good and the acting strong. This is a must watch for serious film buffs, it's even a favourite of Martin Scorsese. Check it out!
September 21, 2016
One of the great European arthouse works tells the story of the ambiguous situation the Polish undergroud army found itself in towards the end of WWII. On the one hand we have Pawlikowski's character determined to continue battle this time against pro Soviet Polish authorities. Cybulski's character is no longer so certain. Wonderful acting from both leads and strong supporting cast. Strong storytelling of this tragic story. First rate.
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2016
A wicked intelligent and even hilarious political commentary with a sublime cinematography and a marvelous direction - which is noticeable from the applaudable way that Wajda maintains complete control of his material and focus even with a large gallery of characters.
June 19, 2016
Beautifully shot and acted.
December 13, 2015
Amazing film set at the end of WWII Poland. The battle is raging for Poland's future yet the average citizen is just war weary. Beautiful film seemingly inspired by Italian neo-realism with the visual poetry of the Nouvelle Vague. Glad I finally got to see it. I was afraid it would be like "Last Year at Marianbad."
October 24, 2015
Uncompromisingly acted and occasionally fun with it, but it's deliberate narrative and camera choices to be almost entirely in shadows makes it less than entirely bearable.
July 1, 2015
Fascinating masterpiece that takes place on the final day of WWII in Poland as Soviet forces begin establishing a communist regime. The film focuses around a Polish nationalist who is hired to kill a communist official. But after he meets a lonely barmaid, he begins to rethink his life. It's not only a fantastic slice of history, it's also a depiction of the ways radical change affects people, the damage that war has on people, and the journey of a man torn between loyalty and love. Sounds more like a soaper than an art film but I assure you that it has a keen eye for detail and a host of metaphors (such as drunkenness as a representation of the excesses of greed) and churches/graveyards as symbols of hope and despair, respectively.
January 2, 2015
A great and engaging movie. One of the best
December 23, 2014
now this was brilliant, A masterpiece
the sene were they stand behinde the Jesus in the mess and bombed church

also when she was pouring the glass of beer with a sensual look
December 15, 2014
Set during May 8 and 9, 1945, in Poland it is a time for celebration, but not for a James Dean like Polish freedom fighter who is just as opposed to the communists as he was to the Nazi's. He is not a robot but deeply conflicted about his mission and orders. What transpires is incredibly violent and tragic even as the celebratory fireworks go off. Deeply mesmerizing and disturbing, it is about soldiers who feel duty bound to assassinate a local Communist leader. When they assassinate the wrong people in a case of mistaken identity , much self doubt creeps in about the mission to try again to kill the leader, after all, everyone else is celebrating the end of the war. Why can't they?? One of the greatest films ever made and the final part of a war trilogy by this Polish director.
½ September 29, 2014
Gorgeous cinematography, lighting, and visual composition. A strong opening and a strong closing. I between, it founders in a "romance" about a girl helplessly drawn to a prick. Sadly, the movie's greatest strength - the imagery - is significantly undone by the low resolution digital package touring the US as part of the "Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema" retrospective.
June 2, 2014
Well made but not exciting.
April 12, 2014
With some unique and memorable characters, this film is actually more artistic than you'd think.
Somewhere between overt and subtle is a gentle aesthetic that guides this film along in a beauty that is rarely seen in cinema (or at least in a way that you might miss if you're not looking for it).
March 20, 2014
Andrzej Wajda elevates his post-WWII thriller above simple drama with his stark, unforgettable imagery and with a captivating performance from Zbigniew Cybulski.
March 11, 2014
A young patriot must choose to assassinate a communist leader & go on the run or live a normal life with a lovely blonde barkeep.
January 27, 2014
The acting is so unnatural that it's painful to watch. Maciek's faux-James Dean is terrible. Turned it off after half an hour, although I do not usually do that.
½ September 1, 2013
A very interesting character study. The film would be a complete failure if not for the superb performance of Cybulski. The premise revolves around a man is torn between primal urges and selfish needs and the good of his entire country and way of life, which would be absurd without the context of the film. And, oh yeah, the imagery is amazing.
August 31, 2013
more artsy than I would have expected.
½ June 30, 2013
Finally got around to seeing Andrzej Wajda's "Ashes and Diamonds," one of the better war-related films; I knew it was highly acclaimed but did not know much else except for a picture of the lead actor (Zbigniew Cybulski) holding a machine gun, which gave the impression of brutality. Surprisingly, it's quite tender and poetic with a variety of interesting characters that come together in a hotel in Poland where two Home Army soldiers plan to assassinate a communist leader. There is also a subplot: while Maciek (Cybulski) is assigned to kill the leader, he becomes enamored with the hotel's barmaid; scenes involving these two were my favorite. If I had a choice I would go back in time during a war and just be in the arms of a lover for a little while, even if it results in sadness. I recall Jean Renoir's "Grand Illusion" and it had the same impact on me, I love these kinds of affairs dearly.

There is also a bit of symbolism, particularly Christ's figure hovering over the characters and violet flowers which signify love; to some extent I see this film as a prelude to the (religious) art films that will come in the 60s, it's not quite there yet. Robert Bresson is an exception; he made "Diary of a Country Priest" in the early 50s. What prevents "Ashes and Diamonds" from being great is its lack of polish; there are moments in the end, that I will not spoil, where it would have been better off leaving them out. The editing wasn't precise; Wajda gives us a powerful, heart-breaking scene and then goes back to it at least twice, I think it would have been better if it wasn't expanded upon. It wasn't something excessive but at times you just need to have limits. One of its revealing scenes didn't have the impact it should have; I actually found it funny, probably because of the time difference and what you're accustomed to seeing. My issues with it are not of great importance; it's still a very good film that should be seen for its love affair rather than its political agendas.
½ April 14, 2013
An amazing movie. How Wajda got it past the censors is beyond me.
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