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I love the strangeness of this film

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I know so very little about life and history of Eastern Europe. It became obvious to me as I recently watched the film classic The Cranes are Flying, made in the Soviet Union in 1957.

Suddenly the thought struck me: the people in Soviet Union were a part of World War 2 as much as the Brits and Americans. But how much do I know about their perspective? Nothing.

The physical wall that went through Europe not too many years ago, may have crumbled. But as far as culture and heritage it seems as solid as ever. Perhaps this divide also explains why there was something about this film that felt a little odd. The storytelling doesn’t quite follow the normal curve for movies from our part of the world, which often are so standardized that you can foretell exactly what’s going to happen and know on beforehand almost the exact minute when the climax of the film will occur. There are twists and turns in the lives of Veronika and Boris that I didn’t predict, which makes it a little strange, but also refreshing.

I need to add here that some of the strangeness might be attributed to the sub-par quality of the translation. The frequent errors in the usage of words and phrases, resulting in lines that sometimes didn’t make sense at all in the context, made me wonder if they had decided to skip a real translator who wants to be paid for his job, replacing him by running the screenplay through Google translate.

Strange or not; I loved The Cranes are Flying and I can see why this is considered a classic. I’m by no means an expert in cinematography, so I can’t tell in which way this has been groundbreaking or become a source of inspiration for other filmmakers, but I’m pretty sure it has.  It’s so special and beautiful that even I had to take notice about it.

The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli, Mikhail Kalatozov, RU 1957) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

October 26, 2012 at 1:00 am