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The Cranes Are Flying (Kalotozov, 1957) - #TSPDT #663

A young couple in love gets torn apart by the war and the woman marries her lovers cousin.

The story is beautifully structured and amazingly convincing even if it focusses on a very small environment that those people depicted live in. The story develops at an even pace and the woman's characters can barely break out of her role. The presumably bittersweet ending only provided a rather slight relief but thinking about it it's exactly what her character would have done: finally adapted to a positive reality. There is an interesting resemblance to Nights of Cabiria where the character finds inner strength to participate in life again, after being washed down all of the film.

The other thing was the stunning photography. The use of hand camera, wide angles, and then suddenly very expressive camera work delighted me many times. There was a great scene where she is fleeing the refugee camp, and the camera picks up something that might maybe be best referred to as speed lines. Where she is peering through the fence hoping to find her lover in the crowd of new soldiers is also amazingly well filmed, with the moving camera. (This was way before steadycam)

Many scenes worth studying in this one.

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