The Cranes Are Flying 03/07/20

The Criterion Collection

Some classic Russian films are impressive, others are interesting — and this one takes our heads off, as if we were seeing great moviemaking for the first time. Soviet filmmaking under Stalin was locked in the grip of stifling bureaucratic sameness; Mikhail Kalatazov waited until the passing of Joe Stalin to direct with a degree of freedom. This show about lovers separated by war won prizes around the world, giving Soviet films new life internationally — its bravura montages and fluid camera set pieces still astound. The stars are Sergey Batalov, and the world-class actress and beauty Tatyana Samojlova. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.