Archive of films Flights in Dreams and in Reality / Polyoty vo sne i nayavu

1982, 92 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2014

On the eve of his fortieth birthday, Sergey discovers that neither his job, his family, nor his comely lover are able to give his life meaning, and that his only intense moments occur in dreams that increasingly wrench him from reality. This Soviet hit from the early 1980s continues to offer a strong statement of a generation that was allowed to dream but couldn’t really live.


Sergey is an attractive man approaching forty who is acutely aware that nothing he has achieved during the better part of his life has brought him any satisfaction. His frantic sprints between his work, his lover and his family, and the constant lies he uses to explain his absence, only tighten the noose around his neck. The three days that separate him from the Big 40 might present an opportunity to change everything, or he might just lose it all instead.… The Soviet update of the literary concept of the "superfluous man,” filmed at the end of the Brezhnev Stagnation, was Balayan’s most successful title. It was here that he first engaged Oleg Yankovsky, an actor who subsequently appeared in the majority of the director’s films; without guile or pathos, he captures the existential dimension and contradictions of the morally questionable hero. The film surprisingly eluded the narrow gaze of the remorseless censors and was thus able to present audiences with a faithful portrayal of the social paralysis that befell the pre-perestroika era. Balayan’s plans for a sequel set in the rip-roaring world of 1990s capitalism were abandoned.

About the director

Roman Balayan (b. 1941, Nerkin-Horatagh, Nagorno-Karabach, USSR) did a stint of acting before turning to film direction. He studied the latter discipline in Yerevan and Kiev, where Sergei Parajanov helped him to launch his career. He established himself as a leading Soviet director with skilfully updated adaptations of Russian classics (Chekhov, Turgenev, Leskov), in which he captured pressing dilemmas of modern times (The Lone Wolf, 1977; The Sleuth, 1987; Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, 1989). In the audience hit Flights in Dreams and in Reality (1982) he achieved unprecedented authenticity exposing the inner conflict of a generation growing up during the Brezhnev Stagnation; here he also launched his highly inspirational collaboration with actor Oleg Yankovsky (The Kiss, 1983; Take Care of Me, My Talisman, 1986; Birds of Paradise, 2008), who congenially portrayed many of Balayan’s unruly heroes.


Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre
Vasylkivska 1, 03040, Kiev
Tel: +380 442 016 574
Fax: +380 442 016 547

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Out of the Past
Director: Roman Balayan
Screenplay: Victor Merezhko, Sergey Antonov
Dir. of Photography: Vilen Kaliuta
Music: Vadim Khrapachov
Editor: Olena Lukashenko
Production: Oleksandr Dovzhenko Feature Film Studio
Cast: Oleg Yankovsky, Oleg Tabakov, Lyudmila Gurchenko, Lyudmila Ivanova
Contact: Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre


Roman Balayan

Film Director


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