Repertory Picks

Moscow on the Hudson

On Sunday evening, Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1957 The Cranes Are Flying will swoop into New York’s Hudson Valley, as Bard College’s Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center screens the war drama in its SummerScape film series. Made at a time when Soviet cinema was undergoing a renaissance during the cultural thaw led by Nikita Khrushchev, after a period of dormancy in the early 1950s, Cranes is one of the era’s most stylistically bold and emotionally intense expressions. Featuring remarkably fluid camera work by cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky, and adopting a much more personal perspective than the bulk of the stridently nationalistic Soviet fare that came before it, the movie struck audiences as a revelation not only in Russia but all over the world. “Even today, seeing The Cranes Are Flying is a moving experience,” writes Chris Fujiwara in his liner essay for our edition of the 1958 Palme d’Or winner. “And it may not be difficult for contemporary viewers to recapture the sensation which the film is said to have evoked in those who saw it when it was new: that of a fresh wind sweeping through a musty house.”

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