Cranes Are Flying, The - DVD (4 stars)

The Cranes Are Flying

(PG) 96min (Nouveaux Pictures DVD retail)


Mikheil Kalatozishvili’s multi award winning masterwork was one of the first post-war Soviet films to receive exposure outside the USSR, and was at least partly responsible for reintroducing Soviet cinema into the more ambitious cinemas of the western capitalist hordes.

Like Chukhrai’s Ballad of a Soldier, this is set during WWII and deals with the burgeoning romance of young lovers Boris (Alexei Batalov) and Veronica (Tatiana Samojlova). War, however, conspires against the pair when Boris receives his orders to report for duty. The rest is all bad timing and tragedy.

This striking, tender and incredibly poignant film, which is unusually devoid of many of the propagandistic touches of the Stalin era, was a huge influence on many filmmakers either side of the Iron Curtain.

Special features include an interview with star Batalov, featurette on actress Samoilava, an atrocious dubbed version and the original mono version of the film.

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