The Cranes are Flying (Mikhail Kalatozov) Russia

The Cranes are Flying
Mikhail Kalatozov
Russia. 1957. 96 min

This landmark film by the virtuosic Mikhail Kalatozov was heralded as a revelation in the post-Stalin Soviet Union and the international cinema community alike. It tells the story of Veronica (Tatiana Samoilova) and Boris (Alexei Batalov), a couple who are blissfully in love until World War II tears them apart. With Boris at the front, Veronica must try to ward off spiritual numbness and defend herself from the increasingly forceful advances of her beau’s draft-dodging cousin. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, The Cranes Are Flying is a superbly crafted drama with impassioned performances and viscerally emotional, gravity-defying cinematography by Kalatozov’s regular collaborator Sergei Urusevsky.


Mikhail Kalatozov was born on December 28, 1903 in Tiflis, Russian Empire [now Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. He was a director and cinematographer, known for Vernye druz’ya (1954) and Zagovor obrechyonnykh (1950). He died on March 27, 1973 in Moscow.
In 1934-1936 was a general director of film concern Sakhkinmretsvi. In 1936 left Georgia.
Born in the same town as the genius Sergei Parajanov.
Was appointed Deputy Minister for Film in the 1950s.
Was censured by the Soviet government for ‘negativism’ and forced to do administrative work for seven years (1932-1939), before being allowed to resume his directing career.
In the Georgian film industry as actor, cameraman and editor from 1923, graduating to directing in 1928.
Spent eighteen months in Los Angeles during World War II on a diplomatic assignment. This allowed him to watch Hollywood films unavailable in the USSR.