Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Cranes Are Flying

It feels like such a cliche, doesn't it? Boy and girl are in love, boy gets sent off to war, love between them only grows stronger. It gets hokier with each passing film.

That said, however, Mikhail Kalatozv's The Cranes Are Flying handles the now-exhausted storyline beautifully. Set in the Soviet Union not long after Germany's invasion in 1941, the film highlights the hope not just in the two lovers but also the other citizens of the Soviet Union. (War is such a horrid thing, isn't it?)

The film stars Tatiana Samoilova, who from some angles resembles Audrey Hepburn. And like Hepburn, Samoilova has talent as well as beauty. She simply shows Veronica's sadness just with her face. It's a small ability like that which makes me appreciate an actor more.

As well as Samoilova's acting, another highlight of The Cranes Are Flying is Sergei Urusevsky's cinematography. Saturated in the shadows, the film gives off an ethereal nature. Having also seen his work for Letter Never Sent (also directed by Kalatozv), I know that Urusevsky has some of the best visions in cinema.

The Cranes Are Flying is both a beautiful film and a heartbreaking one. Who would have thought back then that there could something poetic about war? (This is years before Terrence Malick did such a thing with The Thin Red Line.) I'm also fairly certain that this is now ranked among my favorites.

My Rating: *****

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