Esteemed Readers, our movie of today is “The Cranes Are Flying/ “Leti’at Guravl’i” (1957)by Michael Kalatozov. It is one of the first Soviet movies shot as a psychological war drama depicting how cruelties of that time destroy the human destiny. The movie was awarded with the Palme d’Or at the 1958Cannes Movie Festival. It tells a typical sad story of the Soviet war time, one of those that are yet forbidden to be told.
The plot so far: Night 22 June 1941 (the official date when the war began in the Soviet Union) Veronika & her fiancé Boris make a stroll around Moscow. They are happy, in love & are planning to get married. At the dawn they watch cranes flying over the city. Some hours later Boris is informed that the war has begun.
Before leaving Boris prepares a gift for Veronika: a stuffed squirrel with golden nuts to express his feelings. Veronika is too late to bid farewell to Boris, so she gets the toy from Boris’ grandmother. She is very sad not to have seen him for maybe the very last time.
She remains in Moscow with her parents who are killed at in a German raid, while her house is destroyed. Boris’ family invites her to live with them, however this decision turns into a nightmare as Mark, her fiancé’s cousin is in love with her & longs for marriage by all costs. He achieves his goal in a very disguising way.
At the same time Boris serves at the Front. Once he saves the life of his friend Volodya but dies. The last instant of his life he has a vision of his wedding with Veronika.
No matter her unhappy life, Veronika expects Boris to return. She refuses to believe that he has died. Her family is relocated to Siberia. There working in a hospital she hears a story about an unfaithful girlfriend from a wounded soldier. It makes her very depressed & she tries to commit a suicide. The last moment a boy saves her. His name is Boris & she adopts him as her son.
Fiodor Ivanovich, Boris’ father discovers the unpleasant truth about Mark, Veronika’s forced husband. He supports Veronika & breaks the family relationship with Mark. Then Volodya, Boris’ friend, finds Veronika’s family & proves that Boris has died. She goes on denying it.
On the 9th May 1945, the Victory Day, Veronika is strolling around Moscow. She hopes to invite Boris alive so she goes to the railway station to meet his unit. There she is convinced that her beloved has perished. She gives her flowers to soldiers while cranes are flying over the city again.
There is the version with rather good subtitles on the Youtube, so I hope you will enjoy it, Esteemed Readers. The war movies are difficult to be watched but they teach us so many things!