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As the clouds of war spread over Russia during Germany's surprise invasion in 1941, the fervent young lovers, the sensitive Veronika and the stalwart Boris, are parted when the patriotic lad secretly volunteers for the war effort. During the following hard years, Veronika who serves her country as a wartime-nurse will lose communication with Boris, moreover, when a devastating air raid destroys her house and Boris' father takes her in to live with the family, unexpectedly, things will take a turn for the worse. Before long, the worried fiancée will find herself dealing not only with the dark thoughts of Boris' potential loss but also with the burden of an unwelcome decision. Once, the star-crossed lovers swore eternal devotion under a flock of flying cranes, still, a war is always cruel and eternally disastrous.Written by
One of the most notable features of the film is cinematographer Sergey Urusevskiy's then ground-breaking use of hand-held cameras. He had learned how to film like this when he was a military cameraman during the war. See more »
The plot of this movie is set against the most terrible war in history of mankind: the violent clash between Adolf Hitler's Germany and Soviet Russia, from 1941-'45.
With the western areas of their country thoroughly devastated, and 20 to 30 million Russian people killed, the vibes of this conflict can be felt in Russia up to the present day. Let alone back in 1957, when memories were still very fresh and painful.
This very black setting strongly contrasts with the fine and coherent style of 'Letjat zhuravli's' beautiful shots. Its simple story deals with human behaviour in times of war: bravery, love, patriotism, weakness, cowardice and corruption. All beautifully tied together by a toy-squirrel.
Add to this the truly magnificent acting, and it's easy to understand why this movie is so famous. Really, one of the very best ever made.
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