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Essential Art House: Ashes and Diamonds

The commanding, charismatic Zbigniew Cybulski (dubbed the Polish James Dean) explodes on screen as Maciek, a Polish soldier who on the last day of World War II is ordered to assassinate a Soviet leader who has arrived in town to establish a new government. Directed with stunning dexterity and inventiveness by the visionary Andrzej Wajda, Ashes and Diamonds was the ultimate film expression of Poland’s postwar identity crisis and a vital work of a nation’s emerging cinema.

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