I generally feel I would get more out of the book given the circumstances that went around the final day of World War 2. There's stunning imaginary in this film with genuinely interesting characters but connecting everything together feels a bit flimsy. Admittedly on a 2nd viewing you begin to see how everything connects together, a political power struggle with a tragic love story over the course of 24 hours.
Featuring riveting shots (e.g. the close-ups in the phone booth) and some unforgettable scenes, Wajda's completion of his war trilogy is iconic, depicting the inverted world that dawned in post-war Poland. Like Christ's surreally 'pierced' statue, a compelling Cybulski carries the theological subtext into a totally unheroic climax punctuated by some exceedingly beautiful scenes of ambush and execution. Stunning!
Ashes and Diamonds is a nihilistic masterpiece. It is full of stunning black and white photography. The real MVP of this film was the James Dean esque performance from Zbigniew Cybulski. I originally watched this film because I heard it was one of Scorsese's favorites and you can really see how influential it was on his work. I can't wait to check out more of Wajda's work!