Generally free of the party line one usually associates with Soviet films of its period, THE CRANES ARE FLYING is an antiwar love story, set during WWII, which centers on the romance between pretty young Samoilova and sensitive factory worker Batalov. Boris, like hordes of other patriotic
Soviet men, marches off to war, leaving behind the woman he loves. She is eventually told of his death, but refuses to accept the horrible news. Finally, however, she resigns herself to a loveless marriage with Boris's draft-dodger brother, Merkuryev, despite the fact that he raped her during an
air raid and although she still loves Boris.
The film gained international attention and was one of the first postwar Soviet features to be seen in the West. A beautiful performance is given by the gorgeous Samoilova, the great-niece of Stanislavsky and daughter of an actor father, Yevgeni Samoilov. The Cannes Film Festival awarded Samoilova
the Golden Palm for her electrifying performance, and named the film as Best Picture.
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