Dear Mr. Wajda,
My youth, though vain and futile,
Was blessed with Ashes and Diamonds,
The anguish, the hope of the Country of the Crowned-Eagle.
Mr. Wajda's film "Ashes and Diamonds" has been my bible as a drama director.
Its influence was obvious even in my first costume drama " Nemuri Kyoshiro ".
One of my old friends who studied cinema at a university course once cynically
spat out " Oh, you like such romantic melodrama ", but his remark didn't affect my
conviction a bit. It was amazing Mr. Wajda could make such a fresh and innovative
movie under the communist regime. 34 years after Ashes and Diamonds, he made
The Crowned-Eagle Ring referring to the same theme, but this time, in entire political
freedom. It was a powerful film and I could understand what he really wanted to say-his
vindictive rage against the Russians who coldly watched the Polish resistant troops be
massacred by Nazis and later took over the country.
I met him personally on April 28, 1998 at Krakow. Though he understood English to a
certain extent, our conversation was carried out in Polish-English interpretation.
When I asked him how he compared the two above-mentioned films that had been made
under completely different circumstances, he answered a little angrily "The governmental
restriction has nothing to do with the quality of any film ". Later, my interpreter consoled me
saying that Mr. Wajda must have been irritated that the Polish public were not enthusiastic
about his films any more and The Crowned-Eagle Ring was not a great hit in Poland.
Time really passes so quickly !