Based on a rough estimate, this is the third time I’ve seen Mikheil Kalatozishvili’s Letyat zhuravli/The Cranes are Flying. The first was at film class, Eastern European Cinema to be exact, and I do remember my professor -schooled in the oldest film school in the world, in Russia- simply saying how this sort of cinema does not sugar coat endings, unline its American counterparts. He was also, unsuprisingly, a big fan of Russian cinema, from Eisenstein, to Tarkovsky. Pity my classmates, mostly film majors themselves, who would rather sneak out of the class to hobnob in their respective tambayans. Tsk, tsk.
The second time I saw it was at Titus Brandsma, a place I haven’t been to for a very long time.
Anyway, as most reviews of the film would go, the plot is clicheic, this is obviously an easy-melodrama of lovers separated by war. However, the photography, the wide-angle shots, are the loveliest I’ve seen lately. Also, don’t you just miss how old movies heavily set up, and rely on one or two lines from a five second scene to make a point? I do, and this 1957 film reminds me of how an inventive camera angle, and a simple plot, goes a long, great way.