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Ashes & Diamonds [Blu-ray] [1958]

Zbigniew Cybulski , Eva Krzyzewski , Andrzej Wajda    Suitable for 12 years and over   Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: £7.22 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Ashes & Diamonds [Blu-ray] [1958] + The Conformist [Blu-ray]
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Product details

  • Actors: Zbigniew Cybulski, Eva Krzyzewski, Adam Pawlikowski
  • Directors: Andrzej Wajda
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Arrow Academy
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Oct 2011
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CSKD2Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,099 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

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.

Special Features:

  • 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

Product Description

United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region A/B/C DVD: LANGUAGES: Polish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Polish ( Dolby Linear PCM ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.66:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Blu-Ray & DVD Combo, Booklet, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Posters, Remastered, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: This is the last film in the trilogy that began Andrzej Wajda's career as a director. Preceding this wartime drama are Pokolenie (1955) and Kanal (1957). Once again, Wajda presents a strong anti-war statement, this time in the personae of two men who are given orders on the last day of World War II in Poland to murder a leading communist. The orders come from the part of the resistance that opposes the new communist regime. One of Wajda's favorite performers and a friend, Zbigniew Cybulski, plays the man who eventually pulls the trigger and kills the communist leader - and the results are not what he expected. In 1959, Popiol I Diament won in competition at the British Academy Awards and at the Venice Film Festival. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Venice Film Festival, ...Ashes and Diamonds ( Popiól i diament ) ( PopióB i diament (Ashes & Diamonds) ) (Blu-Ray & DVD Combo) (Blu-Ray)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunglasses After Dark (Spoilers) 13 Feb 2008
The third in Director Andrej Wadja's war trilogy, Ashes and Diamonds is set in Poland on the last day of WW2. The German High Command have issued their unconditional surrender and the Communists quickly fill the vacuum left by Hitler's goose-steppers and set up shop. Warsaw is lousy with rats and not all of them are of the rodent variety as power hungry bureaucrats jostle for position in the new order.

Having spent the last half a decade under the Nazi junta; the prospect of a future under Stalin's jackboot is met with keen opposition. Maciek, a resistance fighter, is ordered to kill a local Socialist party official, which he is more than happy to do, but soon discovers he has killed two innocent civilians instead.

Maciek books a room at a rundown hotel where his quarry is staying. While he waits for the right moment to make amends he meets and falls in love with the barmaid Krystyna. His connection to the girl leads him to rethink his part in the endless cycle of violence.

The central role of Maciek is played by the brilliant Zybigniew Cybulski who came to be known as the `Polish James Dean.' Dean's death in a highway smash in 1955 meant he would never fulfil his promise and so would forever be frozen in movie goer's minds as a deeply troubled boy. Cybulski was 30 when he played the role that made him and gives us a glimpse of what his western counterpart could have achieved.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Dual Format Edition from Arrow Academy 8 Jan 2012
This new Blu-ray Edition from Arrow Academy has not been reviewed [to date], just appended with old DVD reviews as is Amazons custom.

I shan't bore you with more analysis and description of the film but just give a brief update on the quality and content of the package.

Starting with the Blu-ray disc itself, the quality is really very high, the film looks excellent. So everything one might have hoped for there. The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 so you need to make sure it's viewed correctly with a small amount of black down the left/right sides on a 16.9 screen.

The video extra finds Wajda speaking direct to camera and discussing the films historical, political and artistic context.

The case comes inside a slip cover with a transparent window. This is designed to display the new cover artwork or one of three reproduction original posters. I'm not so keen on the new artwork, but the posters are very interesting. Once the disc is on and you encounter the various menu headings; Auditorium, Reel Change, Kiosk and Projection Booth, you may, like me begin to think that the pudding is being a little over egged.

There's a very good booklet with new writing from the ever excellent Michael Brooke as well as other interesting re-printed material and images.

Above all the film looks and sounds very impressive.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adrian said it all, but.... 20 Sep 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a truly wonderful film, a genuine masterpiece. Cybulski, or Spishek to his friends, was the lover of my great friend Marlene Dietrich and it was her train that he was rushing after that fateful night. She tearfully recounted the whole episode for my "Marlene, My Friend". What Adrian (sublime review by the way) failed to add was that the film's theme is "J'ai perdue ma jeunesse", a French song created by Damia and reprised by Marlene. In this film, Cybulski dies arguably the most eloquent death in any film, and I cannot praise this film enough. I can only complain that Amazon do not allow us to give more than 5 stars.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
one of the best films ever made. The story of people touched with "polish syndrom", tragedy of choices on the edge of life and death. And, suprisingly - very powerful film, sometimes even funny. A character played by Cybulski is a polish James Dean, in his highest point of career, unforgettable. Not many words, lots of action, passion, love, war, joy, tragedy, friendship. It's not a history of cinema. It's still alive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wajda's Masterly Tale Of A Conflicted Soul 22 Mar 2013
By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This 1958 film was the third in Andrzej Wajda's War Trilogy and is (probably) the most lauded of the three films, a sentiment with which I would agree (for me, it just about pips Kanal to win such an accolade). Although both A Generation and Kanal, as well as having a more traditional 'war setting', do include perceptive and quite intimate studies of personal conflict and dichotomy, for me, Ashes And Diamonds, in using these themes as central to the film's core narrative, explores them more deeply and compellingly (all against the backdrop of Poland's 'liberation' at the time of the Allied Forces victory in 1945). Indeed, the film's focus on a politically (and morally) conflicted soul in the wake of a 'political assassination' calls to mind Bertolucci's 1970 masterpiece, The Conformist.

Of course, at the centre of Ashes And Diamonds is a bravura performance from the relatively inexperienced Zbigniew Cybulski as the charismatic, shades-wearing, care-free Mr Cool, Maciek Chelmicki, whose life as a 'post-Warsaw uprising' political assassin sits uneasily alongside his playful persona, making practical jokes and chatting up the girls. Cybuski's performance here has been compared to that of James Dean (another actor who died young in tragic circumstances, although Dean, at 24, was 15 years Cybulski's junior when tragedy struck him) and it is easy to see why - not only does the Polish actor have an obvious physical resemblance to Dean, but his care-free, rebellious demeanour (certainly in this film) and facial expressions and tics also call to mind Dean.

The action in Wajda's film takes place over the course of 24 hours as Maciek and his resistance 'boss' Andrzej (Adam Pawlikowski) attempt to track down and assassinate (Communist) Party Secretary Szczuka (Waclaw Zastrzezynski).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadows & flames
Fire and flame, light and shadow...they are motifs throughout this astonishing 1958 film directed by Andrzej Wajda and photographed by Jerzy Wojcik, who must on this showing be one... Read more
Published 20 months ago by GlynLuke
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Film for the Era.
As another has said already, Cybulski was the Polish James Dean and cinema had high hopes for him. In this film the 50's cool look is perfect for the hero. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Nicodemus
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blu-Ray is stunning!
This film is one of the world's undisputed masterpeices! No question. This reivew is simply to make you aware that there is now this stunning Blu-Ray version of it and it is really... Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2012 by G. V. Cherian
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece
One of my all-time favourites, this film appeared deep in the Communist era in Poland. Its humanity and cinematic qualities mark it out, and I wonder at the director's blending of... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Mr. D. T. Marchesi
5.0 out of 5 stars The diamond of film in the ashes of history
Wajda grew up in Poland during the Nazi occupation and his famous trilogy-A Generation(1955),Kanal(1956) and Ashes and Diamonds(1958)-records the wartime suffering and courage and... Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2011 by technoguy
3.0 out of 5 stars Poles Apart
Wajda is still making films - recent Katyn was harrowing in places. This one is from way back in the '50's when post-WWII Poland was tearing itself even more apart by fighting... Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2010 by jimbo cool
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