Regarded as one of the greatest of all Polish films from its premiere in October 1958, Andrzej Wajda s third feature Ashes and Diamonds retains that stature over half a century later.
The entire film takes place on 8 May 1945, when the war in Europe ended with Germany s formal surrender but while other countries celebrated, Poland s postwar power struggle was only just beginning. In depicting the various factions jockeying for position, including ambitious Communists, aristocratic patriots, cynical journalists and anti-Nazi rebels recently emerged from the Warsaw sewers, Wajda brilliantly anatomises a riven country desperately trying to find its identity at a time when a fifth of its population had recently been killed and many more driven into exile. Maciek Chelmicki (Zbigniew Cybulski) embodies this conflict: outwardly a calculating assassin, his ultra-cool façade begins to crack when he badly botches a mission, falls in love with the barmaid Krystyna (Ewa Krzyzewska) and dares to dream of a life outside the armed resistance that s characterised his entire adult life. His all too human indecision makes him Polish culture s Hamlet, and Cybulski s performance remains iconic to this day.
Arrow Academy presents Andrzej Wajda s masterpiece on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK.
- High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film
- New 2K resolution restoration of the film image and sound transferred from 35mm
- Interview with director Andrzej Wajda on Ashes & Diamonds
- Comprehensive booklet by writer and film historian Michael Brooke, including new writing on the film, a re-print of Marek Hendrykowsk s monograph on Ashes & Diamonds , Andrzej Wajda s lecture on Cinema Past and Present and more!
- Artwork presentation packaging including three original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover