In the mid to late 20th century the countries of Eastern Europe experienced a remarkable flowering of socially engaged cinema. FilmClub is screening Ashes & Diamonds, the second in its special focus on the Polish cinema of moral anxiety at 7pm on Tuesday, October 4 at the Tatham Art Gallery in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg.
Ashes & Diamonds is widely acclaimed as one of the finest achievements of European cinema and the masterpiece of the great Polish director, Andrzej Wajda.
After fighting a bitter guerilla war to free their country from German occupation, the Polish Home Army are now facing the take-over of local and national government by a Soviet-backed Communist regime.
Set in an unnamed small town on the last day of the Second World War, this complex and beautiful film lucidly portrays the chaos and confusion following the capitulation of the German occupiers, and vividly captures the anguish of the civil war which then engulfed the country.
The action centres on the town’s leading hotel and banquet hall where the communists and nationalists are manoeuvering for advantage and in which the celebration of peace becomes the setting for a drama of political assassination.
The film uses metaphor and symbolism to dramatise with rare clarity the complex moral choices that confronted many Poles when two wholly opposed ways of life were suddenly and tragically brought into conflict, setting countryman against countryman.
Entry is R35 and The Tatham Coffee shop will be offering a soup and bread supper from 6pm onwards (at a very reasonable R40 per person). Safe parking is available in the government parking lot next to the gallery.