The Cranes Are Flying, written by Viktor Rozov, based on his own play
7 out of 10.
Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
The Cranes are Flying is a worthwhile drama.
You can find it on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:
Nevertheless, this viewer must confess a biased, even if I am not sure if it is compensated to some extent.
Furthermore, I return after some lines to add a sort of a spoiler alert, not in the sense that I will divulge the ending or events that are important at or near the end, but because I seem to digress so much that I may only dedicate a few lines to the film.
On the one hand, I admire Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Turgenev, Ilf and Petrov- Tolstoy a bit less since I have learned from The Intellectuals by Paul Johnson how reprehensible he could be as a man-and quite a few other Russian artists.
I own borzois, used to breed them and maybe one hundred are in homes across this land, out of my farm…they are also known as the Russian Hounds.
But having lived under the communism brought and imposed by the Soviet Union, I have a grudge, to say the least, against the Reds.
The state of things in today’s Russia is also incomprehensible; a country that is not only making amends for its past, but is bent on imposing –yet again- its will on its neighbors and the world at large.
It is not just the tyrant that decides to irradiate opponents like Litvinenko- and in London to boot- that takes decisions that menace the peace and integrity of neighbors- think Ukraine and Georgia-but the people at large.
This is the most terrifying aspect, the fact that so many Russians approve and support this despot and his policies.
There could be attenuating circumstances- they have lived for so long under a brain washing regime- and I, as a survivor of communism, can vouch that societies are seriously affected by dictatorship-and they do not separate right from wrong very well.
But still, I hate it that they do not see Putin for what he is, except for those who support Navalny and geniuses like the ones responsible for:
- Leviafan, one of the best films ever, recently filmed in Russia and of course hated and criticized by authorities
The Cranes Are Flying has a poignant message, a good story, powerful characters, heroism, and patriotism.
Alas, there could also be a sort of propaganda, maybe not as plain as in a, say North Korean production, but it may be there.
Or, prejudiced as I am, I think I see or hear it when they talk about the great heroes, those who died in the war…
There is a problem with the view of the war, with Soviet Union glorified as a valiant opponent of Hitler and the –rightful vilification of the Nazi regime- a view, which neglects both the Ribbentrop- Molotov pact, the alliance between Hitler and Stalin, in the early stages, and the horrendous number of dead, at the hands of the communist regime.
The soviets and the Red Chinese have each killed more of their own people than the Nazis and this somehow gets forgotten, with communism accepted as frequentable, which is mind boggling, while fascism is forbidden in so many places- which it must be, but along with a de3cisive, definite condemnation and interdiction of communism.
This is one other aspect that makes the viewing of The Cranes Are Flying Awkward, for those who see the fight between communists and fascists as a big battle between two equally great evils and are unable to see Soviet fighters as heroes.
Having said that, there is a love story, between Veronica and Boris, complicated by the fact that the latter goes to war, while Mark, another young man, stays home and tries to seduce the girl, left home by the soldier.
There are some poetic scenes, beautiful filming and the image of the cranes that fly at the start and end of the drama.
Some of the dialogue is grating to my years, even when they talk about “the hatred that the soviet citizens have for war”
Instead of taking in the dramatic effect of that speech and being awed by the moral of this exemplary attitude, I almost laughed.
- You dear –that I wish that really went to hell- soviet propagandists that love peace so much, we still feel the effects of your comradely affection, but wish we never had it or any of you for that matter, anywhere near
- Spasiba for bringing and enforcing communism? No, to hell with all that…