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Martin Scorsese presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

Ashes and Diamonds

(Popiół i diament)

Dir: Andrzej Wajda, Poland 1958, 104 mins

Sun 19 April 2015 // 20:00

Tickets: £5 / £4

One of the greatest masterpieces of Polish cinema, and the third and final chapter of Andrzej Wajda's war films trilogy, following A Generation (1954) and Kanal (1956), Ashes and Diamonds is as stunning as it is socially and historically significant. Set immediately after the Second World War, our young, violent yet apathetic protagonist, Maciek (Zbigniew Cybulski, who was heavily influenced by both the look and talent of the late James Dean), is a resistance hero turned anti-Communist assassin. Desperate to escape the past but without a future to step into, Maciek finds himself engaged in activities that deprive him of his innermost humanity. 

Striving for something more, but unable to find anything - other than Nothing - to return to in post-war Poland, Maciek is one of many characters who simply can't build a new life amongst the rubble of the past. 

Heavily influenced by Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, Wajda uses deep focus to heighten the social realist elements of the film. Through forlorn faces and broken buildings, he reveals the only true survivor of war: existential breakdown. And so, despite the terrible crimes Maciek commits, we are unduly drawn to him, for he too suffers in the wake of the obliteration of humanity. Conflict and uncertainty, then, become the mark of a generation. 

With a finale that would break even the hardest of hearts, and surely one of the most beautifully shot sequences ever committed to film, Wajda's aesthetic went on to influence some of the world's greatest ever filmmakers, from the French New Wave to Martin Scorsese. A stunning digital restoration and quite simply one of the most fantastic films ever made, Ashes and Diamonds deserves to be seen on the big screen.

Book advance tickets (please don't print out tickets, we keep a list at the box office)


We're delighted to be screening a selection of these beautifully restored Polish classics from April to June. http://www.cubecinema.com/programme/view/polskiekino/



BFI Kinoteka


Martin Scorsese presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema is currently organised by DI Factory, all DOTS, Propaganda Foundation and The Film Foundation, in cooperation with Tor, Zebra and Kadr film studios, in partnership with the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland, and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and the Polish Film Institute.