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still from The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, SU 1957)

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Michail Kalatozov / SUHH, 1957 / 95 min.

A masterfully filmed love story set in WWII. A young couple is separated as the Germans invade the Soviet Union. He joins the army and is sent to the front, but what are the consequences of war for those left behind? The film won the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1958.

poster The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, SU 1957)

Director Mikhail Kalatozov dispenses with propaganda to focus on personal emotions. It gives this film about a tragic love affair during WWII a unique status within Soviet cinema.

His innovative film language, full of unexpected camera positions, paved the way for pioneering young filmmakers like Marlen Khutsiev and Andrei Tarkovsky. The film is considered a classic, partly thanks to cameraman Sergey Urusevsky’s superior cinematography in the widescreen Sovscope format.

Digital restoration by Mosfilm.

This is part of



Michail Kalatozov

Production year




Original title

Letjat zjoeravli


95 min.







Part of

Russian Thaw

Russia, 2021: in the wake of Putin’s latest election victory, reforms seem further away than ever. How different things were in the late 1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union’s new leader following the death of Stalin, gave an impulse for change. This period, which came to be known as the ‘thaw’, gave rise to classics such as Ballad of a Soldier (1959, Grigorii Chukhrai) and The Cranes Are Flying (1957, Michail Kalatozov); a new generation of filmmakers (Tarkovsky, Shepitko) also stepped into the spotlight.

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still from The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, SU 1957)
still from The Cranes Are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov, SU 1957)

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