The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli) Reviews

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½ March 1, 2009
A well told story of human weakness and struggle in the midst of wartime. There's alot of truth in this film.
February 21, 2009
Romance, love, relationships, war, they're all difficult things. Ask anybody. And whether or not we enjoy working through those things as individuals, when they're amplified on film via intense melodrama, they become incredibly relatable. And when done right, as it is done here, they reverberate through us until we are convinced that, no matter the outcome, it's worth a shot (okay, maybe not war, but you get the idea). And this is what The Cranes are Flying instills in its viewer, an uncanny sense of reckless abandonment that pulls at the heart and demands your head to listen.

I'd never heard of Mikheil Kalatozishvili prior to this, now I know what I've been missing. He crafts this war-torn love story with such tenderness you can't help but hope for the somewhat doomed characters, and though we only get a brief view of the romance between the leads, it somehow leaps to the forefront with energy and urgency. I blame Tatyana Samojlova for being an absolute knock-out and a stunning performer in the gut wrenching landscape she's placed in. This woman alone carries the films story, which is heavily accentuated by its visual execution.

The camera work and technicality here are off the charts. Long, long, gorgeously photographed tracking shots, cameras ascending in dizzying spirals, racing images that rival the impressive work done in Children of Men, all culminate in this cinematic pressure-cooker before exploding in jovial boasts of visual bombast. Surprisingly, the visual side never overtakes the story, but since we're given a leading lady whose character responds physically and emotionally in a way that matches what we see, the two go together like clockwork.

Now, if I'm ever asked what Russian cinema was like in the 1950's, I can answer with confidence that they were way ahead of their time.
January 24, 2009
This Russian film has a simple plot, but the movie has good dialogue, acting, and cinematography.
January 23, 2009
'The Cranes are Flying' has a fantastic story, breathtaking cinematography (including a particularly neat shot of Boris running up the stairs), amazing music, and the acting is dead-on. All the necessary elements are abundantly present for this Russian classic.

Boris and Veronica are in love, but WWII breaks out, and Boris volunteers to serve. Veronica then has to deal with the persistent courting attempts from Boris' cousin in his absence. The story is more complex then that, but I wouldnt want to ruin anything!
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2009
No thankyou - Not interested.
December 29, 2008
the film that made me cry. once.
½ November 27, 2008
Just an absolutely beautifully directed film. I really think this underseen and talked about film needs to be seen by a many more people.
November 11, 2008
Several rousing scenes -- especially the Tchaikovsky air raid -- and some beautiful experimental cinematography reminiscent of Jean Vigo's swooning montage style. The central love story, though, is difficult to empathize with, which leaves the movie with a gaping emotional hole at its center.
½ November 11, 2008
exquisite soviet cinema
November 10, 2008
How is it that the Russians are so good at taking a story so full of bleakness, loss, and despair and turning it into of beauty? The composition and all-around cinematography here is excellent. There are several heart-rending scenes that will always remain with me.
November 10, 2008
Pretty epic love story with incredible surreal moments.
½ October 19, 2008
Lovely, endearing story & film overall
October 5, 2008
Brilliant cinematography!
½ September 23, 2008
Absolute gorgeous cinematography, great performances...
September 21, 2008
Excellent. All around fantastic movie. A sweeping love and war story with beautiful cinematography and great acting.
August 31, 2008
En fantastisk skildring af afmagt og sorg, glæde og håb. Et must-see!
½ August 17, 2008
Next to Ballad of Soldier, this is my favorite WWII era Russian film.
July 30, 2008
The imaginative photography of this film raises the stakes of how a film can pry into human desire, fear and sorrow. The scenes where the Muscovite men are readying themselves to fight the Nazis show their hope and naivete. Because of the choice of shots and sound, we are drawn into the party as well. We want it all to work, but of course it goes there is a terrible price to pay for victory. My one complaint is that a key transitional moment for the female lead is accomplished a bit too easily. Aside from that, this film offers an authoritative visit to the Soviet effort to fend off the Germans and keep their own lives together.
½ July 26, 2008
Iconic movie of the post-Stalin era. It showcases a virtuoso expressionism for art's sake, previously unseen in Soviet cinema. Director Michail Kalatozov - best known for "Soy Cuba" finds perfect synthesis in form and content, and the ending is a great testament to not 'selling out' a narrative to a complex-free resolution.
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