One of Film's Brightest Gems
- The Cranes Are Flying review by NC
This is one of those films which stop the breath, make the hair tingle, and leave you powerless to move for an age after the last credit. So many scenes are worth a paean of glorious praise, but a woman's frantic ascent up a circular staircase of a bombed-out building, no walls around her, just the exterior wreckage of the air raid receding as she rushes higher and higher, only to reach a door and open it onto empty space, a clock hanging by a projecting piece of masonry, still ticking, has to rank as one of the most perfect pieces of cinema I've ever seen.
The story is hardly original: war separates two sweethearts, but Kalatozov hardly lets a few minutes go by before feasting the eyes with another sequence. The crowd scenes must be some of the greatest ever filmed. The script, too, is beautifully poignant - a good few classes above the usual weepie.
Tatyana Samoylova is a marvel. Flawless at being happy, sad, expectant, angry, distraught, numb - a screen performance to stand with the highest. There are fine showings by everybody else.
A timeless classic then, one which comes to mind when making a list of the best films ever made.
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
A magnificent cornerstone of European cinema.
- The Cranes Are Flying review by TE
This is an extraordinary work of art, a beautifully constructed film-poem.
The themes are understandably influenced by the Russian experience of the Second World War, but the central importance of peace is thrillingly evoked at the end.
The events and the imagery are symmetrically arranged and the b/w photography is stunning throughout. Every frame could be frozen and presented as a balanced artwork.
The air of melodrama (witness the incredible air raid / sex scene around 40 minutes in) is very much of its time, but the sheer beauty of the images carries the viewer along.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.