Wajda's masterwork, Ashes and Diamonds, begins in a seemingly bucolic world, with two men, Maciek Chelmicki (performed by the gifted actor Zbigniew Cybulski) and Andrzej (Adam Pawlikowski) lying on the ground near a small country chapel. A young girl is attempting to open the chapel door, and asks their help. Slowly the men, clearly exhausted, are roused, Maciek, in dark glasses, taking a long while to awaken. Suddenly another man signals them, a car is coming, and we recognize that we have misread the peaceful scene. The girl is sent off, and, as the car comes into view, Maciek and Andrzej ready their guns, brutally murdering driver and rider.
Los Angeles, March 21, 2001