Letjat schurawli

The Cranes Are Flying | Wenn die Kraniche ziehen
In early summer of 1941 in Moscow, Boris and Veronika are happily in love. They roam the city until the wee hours, laughing and teasing each other. Cranes fly overhead. Then the Germans invade the Soviet Union and everything changes. Boris volunteers to fight and is sent to the front. The lovers do not even have time to say goodbye. When Veronika’s parents are killed in an air raid, Boris’ family takes her in. She is lonely and discouraged, and Boris’ cousin Mark is charged with looking after her. But Mark turns out to be a cad and a thoughtless egotist, who has shirked his duty to join up. Veronika waits for Boris … Made during the period of liberalisation that followed Joseph Stalin’s death, Letyat Zhuravli represented Soviet cinema’s first international hit after World War II. Turning its back on socialist realism, the film’s expressionist, at times almost surreal images, and “unchained camera” techniques, were impressive. Instead of heroic victors, it portrays the suffering and sacrifice of the civilian population during war. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1958. – World premiere of the digitally restored version in 2K DCP.
by Michail Kalatosow
with Tatjana Samoilowa, Alexei Batalow, Wassili Merkurjew, Alexander Schworin, Swetlana Charitonowa, Walentin Subkow, Antonina Bogdanowa, Konstantin Nikitin
USSR 1957 Russian 98’ Black/White Rating R12


  • Tatjana Samoilowa
  • Alexei Batalow
  • Wassili Merkurjew
  • Alexander Schworin
  • Swetlana Charitonowa
  • Walentin Subkow
  • Antonina Bogdanowa
  • Konstantin Nikitin


Director Michail Kalatosow
Screenplay Viktor Rosow based on his play “Večno živye” (Forever Alive, 1943)
Cinematography Sergei Urussewski
Editing Marija Timofejewa
Set Construction Jewgeni Swidetelew
Music Moissei Vainberg [= Mieczysław Weinberg]
Producer Igor Wakar

World sales

Mosfilm Cinema Concern

Produced by

Mosfilm Cinema Concern

Additional information

Digitally restored version 2017
Mosfilm Cinema Concern, Moscow

Michail Kalatosow


Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018