The Cranes Are Flying

Wednesday, May 31 at 7:30 PM — The Auditorium at NEIU — 3701 W Bryn Mawr Ave
Tickets: $10 at the door

May 31 - The Cranes are Flying

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov • 1957
In Russian with English subtitles
After lying low as a Soviet film bureaucrat for over two decades, visionary Georgian director Mikhail Kalatozov burst back onto the big screen with The Cranes Are Flying. Taking advantage of the comparatively open culture climate of Nikita Khrushchev’s post-Stalin “thaw,” Kalatozov and his cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky threw everything they had at this wartime love story, letting loose with all the camera tricks and far-out ideas that they had stashed away during the prior regime for fear of being pilloried as formalists. There’s no real reason that the camera has to sprint up the spiral staircase of a Moscow apartment complex to announce the ecstatic union of Veronika (Tatyana Samojlova) and Boris (Aleksei Batalov)—but neither is there a reason it shouldn’t. Soon enough Boris is off fighting in World War II, Veronika is hunkering down with his family, and being reluctantly drawn into an affair with his cousin Mark (Aleksandr Shvorin). The Cranes Are Flying announced the return of a national cinema that had been lying dormant for decades while Anglophone film societies made do with ancient 16mm prints of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin and Pudovkin’s Mother. (Around the same time, the new Soviet guard demonstrated its liberal tendency by releasing the second part of Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible thirteen years after its completion.) Kalatozov won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and Cranes wound up distributed in the US by Warner Bros. (!) as part of a State Department-sponsored cultural exchange. (The USSR got Marty, its first American film since World War II, in the bargain, learning the travails of a bachelor butcher under capitalism.) Cranes received near-unanimous critical praise in the US and became an art house darling. (KW)
97 min • Mosfilm • 35mm from Janus Films

Preceded by: 1957 trailer reel – ~10 min – 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections

NEXT UP: How Green Was My Valley on Wednesday, June 7 at NEIU