Some weeks ago I saw the movie Letyat zhuravli (The Cranes Are Flying), directed by Mikheil Kalatozishvili. I was swept away! This old Russian movie has raised several questions in my head but more than anything I find myself wondering should one really keep paying for the rest of his/her days for the mistake (if it was a mistake) that was made at one point in one’s life. I guess many will say it depends on the mistake itself.
The mistake was infidelity. Although, I really can’t tell if it was infidelity or the girl was raped (as someone said), or perhaps it was a moment of weakness. But I can tell one thing, I was ready to forgive her just about anything, that great and honest was her suffering. She suffered so much that I could hardly bear it!
Letyat zhuravli is a war movie in the terms of time, space and circumstances but not really in the terms of the story itself. It is a bit hard to explain. The director put a great deal of different emotions and aspects while developing the story and characters. There are no epic scenes of the battles or Nazis marching through Russia. Quite contrary. The director decided to show us people and their stories, and some of the sufferings of the human souls are equal and same in the time of peace and in the time of war. That is exactly what makes this movie interesting and different. Also, the camera work is simply astonishing! I mean, I truly couldn’t believe my eyes considering the year in which this movie is made. Scenes, angles, light, all was absolutely amazing, a masterpiece of cinematography! I say you must see this movie. And you’ll need this as well.
I won’t say more about the story. It won’t be interesting if I reveal everything and there is definitely a lot to be seen.
This astonishing movie was released in 1957, and according to some reviews, the silence in the theater was profound. I wish I was there…