The Cranes Are Flying

Летят журавли (The Cranes Are Flying). Here’s a good Criterion essay. It’s odd watching something like this the night after I watched Die Hard–which is a great movie, sure, but the camerawork is a bit more… utilitarian. This one is a treat for the eyes. It was directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and shot by Sergei Urusevsky, who is supposed to be a genius cinematographer. I think this is probably correct. Here are some more brilliant photos that don’t do it justice, because they’re not moving. There’s several dramatic long shots outdoors that are awesome, and many of the indoor takes have some clever tracking and repositioning. All in rich, purposefully-lit black and white. Looks like someone has put The Cranes Are Flying on YouTube so you can investigate. As for the story, it’s lovers-separated-by-war stuff. But if you’re going to get stuck watching a WWII romance that’s not Casablanca, it’s probably best take charge and pick something that’s visually awesome. And I should mention that the actors are great.