The Cranes Are Flying (1957) Literary Analysis

Brief Intro

🕊️ The Cranes Are Flying (1957) is a poignant Soviet film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. Set during World War II, it tells the heartbreaking story of love and loss experienced by Veronica and Boris. The film is renowned for its innovative cinematography and profound emotional impact, capturing the turmoil and resilience of the human spirit amidst the ravages of war.

Literary Devices Used in The Cranes Are Flying

In this section, we’ll explore ten literary devices used in the film. Each device will be demonstrated with specific scenes.

1. Symbolism

Movie SceneDevice Example
Cranes flying at the beginning and end of the filmThe cranes symbolize freedom and the fleeting nature of life.
Veronica running through the bombed-out streetsThe ruins symbolize the destruction of her past and future dreams.

2. Foreshadowing

Movie SceneDevice Example
Boris’s hurried farewell to VeronicaForeshadows his fate on the battlefield.
Veronica’s lost watchForeshadows the loss of time and innocence.

3. Metaphor

Movie SceneDevice Example
The river Boris crosses to enlistRepresents the irreversible step into adulthood and war.
Veronica’s shattered vaseRepresents her broken dreams and life.

4. Motif

Movie SceneDevice Example
The recurring image of cranesRepeated to emphasize themes of loss and hope.
Veronica’s repeated visits to the train stationHighlights her enduring hope and despair.

5. Irony

Movie SceneDevice Example
Veronica’s belief in Boris’s survivalDramatic irony as the audience knows Boris’s fate.
Mark’s feigned heroism contrasted with Boris’s real braverySituational irony highlighting true and false valor.

6. Juxtaposition

Movie SceneDevice Example
Scenes of wartime destruction vs. peaceful pre-war lifeHighlights the stark contrast between war and peace.
Veronica’s joyful moments with Boris vs. her despair after his deathEmphasizes the impact of war on personal happiness.

7. Flashback

Movie SceneDevice Example
Veronica reminiscing about her time with BorisProvides emotional depth and context to her grief.
Boris recalling his life before the warHighlights the loss of innocence and normalcy.

8. Personification

Movie SceneDevice Example
The cityscape reflecting the chaos of warThe city itself seems to mourn and suffer.
The cranes embodying freedomThe cranes take on symbolic human qualities.

9. Hyperbole

Movie SceneDevice Example
Veronica’s frantic search for BorisExaggerates her desperation and love.
Mark’s exaggerated tales of braveryHighlights his deceit and cowardice.

10. Allegory

Movie SceneDevice Example
The entire film as a portrayal of the Soviet people’s resilienceThe characters’ struggles symbolize the collective experience of war.
Veronica’s journey through loss and renewalRepresents the emotional and physical rebuilding post-war.

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Character Studies

VeronicaSymbolismVeronica’s innocence is symbolized by her white dress at the beginning of the film, contrasting with her darker, worn clothing later, representing her loss and suffering.
BorisForeshadowingBoris’s hurried and unceremonious departure foreshadows his fate, creating a sense of impending doom.
MarkIronyMark’s deceitful nature is highlighted through his ironic facade of bravery, contrasting with his true cowardice.

Character Dynamics

JuxtapositionThe contrast between Veronica’s unwavering hope and Mark’s opportunistic nature drives the narrative, highlighting themes of genuine love versus selfishness.
MetaphorVeronica’s relationship with Boris serves as a metaphor for the lost youth and potential of a generation affected by war.

Thematic Analysis

Love and Loss

SymbolismThe cranes symbolize both the fragility and resilience of love in the face of war.
FlashbackFlashbacks to happier times highlight the depth of Veronica’s loss.

War and Its Impact

JuxtapositionThe stark contrast between pre-war and wartime scenes underscores the devastation caused by the conflict.
IronyThe irony of Mark’s false heroism against Boris’s true sacrifice highlights the moral complexities of war.

Hope and Resilience

MotifThe recurring image of cranes represents enduring hope amidst despair.
AllegoryVeronica’s journey reflects the collective resilience and hope for renewal in post-war society.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
SymbolismVisual ImageryThe use of cranes in the sky visually symbolizes freedom and hope, enhancing the symbolic meaning.
IronySound DesignThe contrasting use of triumphant music during Mark’s false tales emphasizes the irony of his cowardice.
JuxtapositionCinematographyThe stark visual contrast between the lush pre-war scenes and the desolate wartime footage underscores the themes.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene 1: Boris’s Farewell

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  • Breakdown: Boris’s hurried farewell to Veronica is filled with dramatic tension, foreshadowing his fate. The handheld camera work and tight close-ups enhance the emotional intensity and sense of urgency.

Scene 2: Veronica’s Despair

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  • Breakdown: Veronica running through the bombed-out streets captures her despair and the chaos of war. The disjointed editing and frantic camera movements mirror her inner turmoil.


Let’s test your understanding with a fun quiz! 🎉

Interactive Multiple Choice Quiz

1. What do the cranes symbolize in the film?

  • A) Freedom and hope
  • B) War and destruction
  • C) Innocence and purity

2. Which device is used when the audience knows Boris’s fate but Veronica does not?

3. How does the film use juxtaposition?

  • A) To contrast different characters
  • B) To highlight the difference between war and peace
  • C) To show Veronica’s changing emotions

4. Which cinematic technique is used to enhance the symbolism of the cranes?

  • A) Sound design
  • B) Cinematography
  • C) Visual imagery

5. What does Veronica’s shattered vase represent?

  • A) Her future
  • B) Her dreams and life
  • C) Her innocence