World War Film Festival – The Cranes Are Flying: Screening Review

"Time will pass. Towns and villages will be rebuilt. Our wounds will heal. But our fierce hatred of war will never diminish."

Though anti-war films send across the most obvious and noble message, they have still been met with resistance. However, if there’s one message our society needs more than ever today, it’s just that. If there’s one film that’s best suited to do this, it’s Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying.

The Cranes Are Flying tells the story of love, longing and loss in the time of war. It shows us how large-scale global events affect individual lives, through the story of Boris (Aleksey Batalov) and Veronica (Tatyana Samylova). The young couple, who plan to get married, are torn apart when the USSR is invaded by the German army. Boris is drafted to join the Soviet army, throwing their lives into a spiral. Things take a downward turn for Veronica, who must deal with Boris’ absence (and possible death) and the loss of her parents, all in the backdrop of the war.

Unlike some of the most popular World War films, The Cranes Are Flying goes beyond the battlefield and explores the impact of war on ordinary people. It’s easy for a war film to look at the more dramatic side of war: The one that’s on the front line witnessing the action and the gore. However, it isn’t easy to show how war affects the real victims – Ordinary people like you and me. This is exactly where The Cranes Are Flying’s strength lies. It is an honest, genuine and eye-opening look at the real cost of war, which taps into a very real fear in the back of our minds.

However, this doesn’t mean that the film paints a rosy picture of war. The Cranes Are Flying also shows us what goes on in the battlefield. It blends the action with the emotion to weave a beautiful tapestry of life in the time of war. All this is brought to life with stunning cinematography that will make it hard to look away from the screen. Not that the riveting plot would have let you, anyway.

Why should you watch this film?

Mikhail Kalatozov’s film is a riveting and accurate depiction of the war. It explores the various facets of a tragedy, especially ones that no one tapped into before Stalin’s death. The Cranes Are Flying is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it’s not a film you can afford to miss.

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