Cinema: Pair from Poland

Ashes and Diamonds (Film Polski; Janus) is an honest, brutally powerful and often shocking effort to dramatize a question posed by the 19th century Polish poet Norwid: Will the ashes from the flames of war "hold the glory of a starlike diamond"? As such, it becomes a sort of Poland Man Amour, in which love, out of the cinders of World War II, is kindled anew, flickers with the fire of diamonds, burns out finally in a coda of death.

When the story opens, Nazi Germany has just capitulated, and into the dawn of...

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