Taking Off was Forman's last Czechoslovak film and his first American one. It was Czechoslovak in the sense that it was a continuation not only of his earlier documentary films (Kdyby ty muziky nebyly, If Only They Ain't Had Them Bands), but also Black Peter and Loves of a Blonde, given that it dealt with international issues and was also a musical film. Not in the sense of the musicals genre, but because it is packed with music, Ike and Tina Turner included. Dvořák, too. Just as in his previous... films, Forman is able to use music to identify generational/cultural differences with incredible precision. It's also an American film. The story centres around an American middle-class family trying to cope, in their own particular way, with their daughter running off. It's utterly hilarious, as the director, with his Central and Eastern European perspective, marvels at this world where people's problems are passed on to shrinks and self-help groups. It's also made very American by the culture of the hippies and various mild-mannered bikers: a counterculture which, it is fair to say, had not really taken root in Czechoslovakian towns and cities.
The film displays both Miloš Forman's ironic observational perspective and his ambition to understand the New World. It's fascinating to see how the film deals with the experience of the mutual bewilderment of the different generations. This experience is certainly not free from tension. And at the end of the film, the world is turned upside down a little.
Taking Off is unquestionably an auteur film, and was not a financial success, but it did win the Jury Prize at Cannes and served as a springboard for Forman to work on larger productions.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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