The Cranes are Flying (Kalatozov, 1957)

First, let me apologize to my millions of readers for not giving you word on why there have been no updates recently. On 11/8, my wife and I welcomed our newest little addition to our family into this world – Howie Walter Weseloh! So, obviously, things have been busy and not a lot of movie watching has been happening around here. But I did have time to sneak this in during nap time.

The Cranes are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957)

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  -Proverbs 3:3

Well if this is any indication, the flaws from my first Kalatozov experience, Letter Never Sent, seem to be staples of his directorial style. That’s a disappointment, especially since it leaves no room for other flaws. So the overbearing melodrama on display here is too much to bear. The beautiful opening sequence of young love filmed gracefully, painted with the light of the surroundings and the unashamed smiles and laughter of the two people lost in their own little world, is serene. But almost immediately the melodrama takes center stage as war is abruptly introduced as a central conflict. How will this love survive? Unfortunately, a beautiful depiction of young love becomes a lesson of how war rips apart relationships, including an eye-roll inducing scene where the start of the loveless marriage happens during a frightening airborne attack. If only Kalatozov would have continued down the path he started with young love, extraordinary cinematography (well, this is consistent throughout at least), and an interesting familial dynamic. But the drama and the message become too much.  6.75/10

cranes are flying


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