Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This film won a prize at the Moscow International Film Festival. Director Savva Kulish had previously worked with Mikhail Rom on the renowned documentary film Ordinary Fascism. He went on to make a particularly well-received espionage drama Dead Season. The Takeoff is a drama concerning the famous aviation inventor and space-scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (played by poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko). The scientist was considered to be the father of the Soviet space program. Like Beethoven, the scientist was profoundly deaf and had many difficulties because of this which required extra effort to surmount. The story concerns a period during which his son commits suicide and his daughter has been exiled to Siberia by the Tsarist government for revolutionary activities. At the same time, Tsiolkovsky has been feuding with government agencies to try and get funding for his researches into lighter-than-air vehicles (i.e., "dirigibles") and rocketry. His experiments in rocketry were decades ahead of their time.