MovieChat Forums > Popiól i diament (1961) Discussion > Is Kieslowski's 'White' the sequel?

Is Kieslowski's 'White' the sequel?


A friend of mine pointed out that Krzysztof Kieslowski's "White" may have been intended (in part) as a sequel to "Ashes and Diamonds." Of course, "White" has its own plot and its own moral, but there may be a subtext about the fate of Poland.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW






"Ashes and Diamonds" is about the civil war between communists and non-communists that wracks Poland as World War II ends. Ultimately, the communists win, and a free Poland enters a long sleep. Poland is reborn as a democratic state in 1989/1990.

Near the end of "Ashes and Diamonds," the main character (the anti-communist fighter Maciek) collapses and possibly dies atop a garbage heap. Near the beginning of "White," the main character (Julie Delpy's long-suffering Polish husband Karol) awakens atop a garbage heap. Maciek/the old, non-communist, free Poland collapses and becomes inert; Karol/the new, post-communist, free Poland arises after a long slumber. (The garbage heap may even symbolize the communist regime, but that may be taking the comparison too far.)

Any thoughts?

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I'm actually taking a Eastern European film class and watched both films. My professor has said something very similar to what you said, and I agree as well.

BTW, Maciek is totally dead, the bullet pierced his lungs and he is choking on his own blood, it is supposed to represent the death of Polish youth.

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It's not a sequel as much as a simple reference - less surprising when you consider how significant Popiól i diament was in the Polish cinematic context. Kieslowski (and any other director in Poland) was very familiar with it.

Also consider what Karol's haphazard employment of capitalism earns him by the end of the film - Kieslowski was deeply skeptical of the viability of the new system, if not more so than the old.

The other thing is that Wajda himself doesn't regard Maciek as a truly sympathetic figure. He said something to the effect of 'Ashes and Diamonds was too long. If I could go back, it would just show Maciek dying on the garbage. The end.' From what he says, Wajda considers Maciek as someone who made stupid decisions that ended up on the trash heap of history. This obviously plays against the seemingly tremendous effort exerted by the film to bring the audience to sympathize with Maciek, and is one of the reasons why the film is so complex and compelling.

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hi i know it's been several years but do you remember where you read or heard the Wajda opinion on his own film? i think it's great! especially as i agree with him haha. seriously, though, i thought the film had so many great cinematic moments and a fairly good story line that had powerful scenes - all of it would have been much more effective if the running time had been chopped down with a little less of the exploratory scenes setting up what's going on... this from a film buff who doesn't mind really long films and sometimes prefers them...

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interesting thread. I'd seen both films but never made the connection. Thanks.

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There's another allusion to _Ashes and Diamonds_ in _White_, I think.

[Spoilers again:]

In _White_, when Karol shoots what's-his-name in the subway, what's-his-name stumbles into Karol's arms much as Szczuka stumbles into Maciek's in that extraordinary sequence in _Ashes and Dimonds_. Only, this time it's a blank ( = blanc = "white"). In the syntax of an emblematic old wound, there's a second chance, and a new start.

Tom

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I just looked at _White_ again, and I'm not sure which scene you're talking about. Could you elaborate? Do you mean the one


<spoiler alert!>


after his stolen suitcase gets opened and he gets tossed down a hill? Or when he sits on the sidewalk and doesn't help the old man with the bottle he's trying to get rid of? Or something else?

Tom

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When Karol Karol reenters Poland, he falls out of his stolen suitcase onto white, snowy hills. There is no garbage. All the same, Kieslowski was trying to write an issues movie that discussed the state of newly capitalist, independent Poland with the same patriotism and concern that caused Wadja to make a movie about Soviet-occupied Poland. In that sense, White is a sort of spiritual sequel to Ashes and Diamonds.

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I think it's time for me re-watch Three Colours: White.

A bird sings and the mountain's silence deepens.

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