The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review

The Cranes Are Flying is a 1957 Russian war romance film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and starring Tatiana Samoilova. It is a masterpiece of Russian cinema.

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Look! Look! The cranes are flying!

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

It follows a young woman during WW2 and how she struggles when her boyfriend goes to war. This film manages to transcend its admittedly simple and predictable storyline with a perfect execution. Everything here is phenomenal, but what is the most admirable is how anti-war the picture is. I loved its critique of patriotism as well as war in general. The war here is portrayed as damaging to each and every person and that nothing good can come out of it.

That is why it succeeds as a great anti-war film, but also succeeds as a strong romance because this couple is so charming to watch and root for. The tragedy is evident from the beginning, but still deeply impactful. My favorite sequence has to be that ending which was just magnificent to behold. Veronika learns that Boris truly is dead when the soldiers return and the juxtaposition of her devastated face surrounded with joyous people happily reunited with their loved ones was just so powerful, brilliant and heartbreaking. But it then ends on a high and still optimistic note when she gives the flowers to the people around her and gazes upon the sky to see the titular cranes that are the symbol of their everlasting love so greatly established in the movie’s opening scene.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The character development is very strong. Tatiana is such a phenomenal character and a very strong, admirable female protagonist for the time. Her coping with uncertainties over Boris’ fate was so well realized and I found her to not just be a helpless woman waiting for her man, but a strong woman who meanwhile worked at the hospital and never lost hope.

Boris is also really good, excellent for the little screen time that he got. The two are such a great couple which is important for the movie to work. Fyodor Ivanovich is very likable and of course Mark is despicable and I liked how they dealt with him in this movie. That entire subplot worked against all odds.

The Cranes Are Flying benefits from terrific acting across the board. Aleksey Batalov is really good and Vasili Merkuryev is excellent, but of course the standout is Tatiana Samoilova who didn’t start off as strong, but as the movie progressed, became better and better until delivering in spades during the third act. She is beautiful, charming and she managed to carry the entire movie on her shoulders which is so commendable.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

Another thing that makes The Cranes Are Flying a classic is its look. The movie is absolutely gorgeous to watch. The cinematography from Sergei Urusevsky is so strong that it manages to become the most memorable aspect of the entire film. The camera movements in the outdoor sequences are phenomenal, both regular and handheld. The imagery is superb and that crane scene is amazing and beautiful, both in the opening and ending.

The film is so polished not just in its cinematography, but also in the direction which is very strong, acting and of course editing. It is masterfully edited with each and every scene lasting for just the right amount of running time. The movie is never abrupt, never dragging and never dull. It is involving from start to finish owing to that superb editing.

The tone is great as it’s wonderfully lightweight and romantic at first and then serious and dark and still ending on a positive, moving note. That ending was heartbreaking, but wonderful and it almost made me cry how powerful it was. The movie isn’t original, but it is so fantastic in almost every way that I thoroughly enjoyed it despite me being somewhat tired of World War II movies. But when you have a movie done this well, you can’t help but appreciate it.

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The Cranes Are Flying Movie Review………………………………………………………………………….

The film is also realistic, it is well established in its characters and all of its plot points and some scenes are visually very intriguing including that supposed rape scene which is very authentic in its look. The dialogue I loved and I respect the movie for its great sentiment. The score is also quite good and the emotion is so strong that it starts to become overwhelming later on, positively so of course. The movie has that timeless quality to it and is just such an undisputed classic that is so far my favorite Russian film.

With deft editing, excellent direction, amazing cinematography from Sergey Urusevsky and such a strong performance from Tatiana Samoilova, The Cranes Are Flying is an undisputed Russian classic that is so moving, heartbreaking and powerful. It is a film that is perfect in almost every way, it succeeds as such a great anti-war film as well as a beautiful romance and it has such a breathtaking ending scene that almost made me cry. A masterpiece.

My Rating – 5

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Posted in 1950s, 1957, FILM DECADES, Foreign, Highest-Rated Movies, Romance, Russian, War and tagged , , , , , , .

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