Once upon a time in the East, there was film. Is it gone forever? Although dramatic changes have signaled the end of an era, the question is not an easy one. Final collapse is never the simple end of the obsolete or the doomed. The debris of values is also concealed beneath the ruins, amid the rubble.
In Ashes and Diamonds, at the very moment of the war’s end, Andzrej Wajda casts the enemy of communism onto the garbage heap of History. He is handsome, young, and looking forward to a better future. Unjustly accused, he is nevertheless condemned. Today, more than thirty years after this film, we must come to terms with the death of yesterday’s victor in order to define the meaning of his downfall, as well as the nature of the funeral ceremonies....
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