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SFS Talkies / World Cinema Series : Ashes and Diamonds (Popiól i diament)

What Regarded as the greatest in Andrzej Wajda’s wartime trilogy, Ashes and Diamonds (the final piece concluding A Generation and Kanal) remains one of Eastern European cinema’s finest achievements. 'Will there remain among the ashes a star-like diamond, the dawn of eternal victory?' is the question from where the film’s title originates and one that Wajda doesn't attempt to answer.
When 14 October 2008 (Tuesday), 7.30pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot.

Tickets for the public: $8 / $6.40 concession.
Counter Sales: Stamford Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 7.30pm;
Canning Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 5pm.
Online Booking: (click on Online Booking tab at the bottom of the webpage).
Ticketing Information: 6332 3659.
General Enquiries: 6332 5642.

Patrons are advised that a valid identity pass is required for all screenings.


Director:  Andrzej Wajda

1958/ Poland/103 min/35mm/Black and White/Polish with English sub-titles/PG


Maciek, a young soldier in the right-wing Polish Nationalist Army, is ordered, at the conclusion of the war, to assassinate the newly arrived communist district secretary. Maciek has fought in the uprising but is now uncertain about continuing to espouse an inevitably lost cause against the left. He bungles the murder, killing two bystanders and is told to try again. He is hopelessly driven between the demands of conscience and of loyalty, and is further up-ended by falling for a girl in the hotel at which he and the communist official are staying. She makes him feel that his lifestyle is meaningless in the new, post-war climate. Though he manages to accomplish his mission on the very evening that fireworks announce the end of hostilities, he is accidentally shot when running from a military patrol. He dies alone on a rubbish dump in a scene reminiscent of Bunuel's Los Olvidados.

Based on Jerzy Andrzejewski’s novel and screenplay, director Wajda uses striking imagery to convey vivid ideas that carry cynicism, melancholia, wistfulness and shock.. Wadja’s sharply etched black-and-white action takes in a shattering sweep of the litter of a lost and ruined country at the symbolic dawn of a new day and has the pictorial snap and quality of some of the old Soviet pictures of Pudovkin and Eisenstein. Facial expressions are highlighted, bodily movements are swift and intense and the light that comes in from the outside in the shaky morning is as dense as luminous smoke.

Zbigniew Cybulski (in a star making performance) manages, through Wajda, to express a uniquely Polish sensibility - reflecting his nation's troubled history - as well as the kind of youthful frustrations that are still recognisable today. But Wajda's deeply romantic and personal vision, inspired by both Italian neo-realism and by the more baroque images of Expressionism, makes Ashes and Diamonds a gripping experience too. It is the film's ambiguities, as the film-maker tries to come to grips with the myths and legends of the era that continue to render it fascinating.

Source: Derek Malcolm in The Guardian and The New York Times


Director: Andrzej Wajda
Screenplay (and based on his novel): Jerzy Andrzejewski.
Original Music: Filip Nowak and Jan Krenz
Cinematography: Jerzy Wojcik