Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Letjat Zhuravli
USSR, 1957. Mosfilm. Screenplay by Viktor Rozov, based on his play. Cinematography by Sergey Urusevskiy. Produced by Mikhail Kalatozov. Music by Moisey Vaynberg. Production Design by Evgeniy Svidetelev. Costume Design by Leonid Naumov. Film Editing by Mariya Timofeeva. Cannes Film Festival 1958.
Imagine if The Umbrellas of Cherbourg wasn’t a musical and was photographed in dreamy black and white and you’d have this lush Russian melodrama. When her lover goes off to war, a now unhappy young lady weighs the difficult issues that face her while she’s waiting for him to (possibly not) come back. The story is really quite secondary; what matters here is the intense acting and the gorgeous visuals that accompany all the rich displays of emotion. Images will remain in your mind for a long time afterwards.