After The Cranes are Flying a few weeks ago we may have set our hopes too high for our next foray into Soviet "Thaw" era films about World War 2. It's not that Grigori Chukrai's Ballad of a Soldier isn't good, but that bar was really high. Released in 1959, two years after Cranes, Ballad of a Soldier feels like a throwback, more influenced Eisenstein than, well, anyone other than Eisenstein. And Eisenstein is great! But Ballad's exploration of (rather chaste) love in many forms just doesn't land with us.