WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Produced by Timur Bekmambetov and directed by Dmitri Kiselev, the drama "Time of Pioneers," which is being screened at the Russian Embassy in DC, tells the story behind the iconic footage that was released to the world in 1965, when Alexey Leonov became the first human being to step out into open space.
Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak sent a special message, read by the embassy representative, on the occasion of the premiere on Wednesday.
“This day, back in 1961 the first human, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin traveled into the space," Kislyak said. “We are very happy that people all over the world celebrate this commemorative date with us.”
“Interaction between Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA is a positive example of the fruitful cooperation," Kislyak stressed. “We hope you enjoy the movie and we wish every success to our cosmonauts and astronauts who support the traditions of remarkable cooperation between our nations.”
The Russian ambassador added that Americans deserve “special credit” as they came up with an idea to celebrate the event under the brand Yuri's night. The current event, Kislyak added, forms part of this global initiative.
Some 300 people attended the premiere including American students and representatives of various diplomatic missions.
The drama shows the close calls and even life-threatening emergencies that the cosmonauts faced during their flight, and upon their return to Earth, including Leonov's troubles returning to the spacecraft following his spacewalk, and problems during reentry, when Leonov and Belyaev ended up landing in the unhospitable taiga, from which they had to be rescued.
The film highlights the limits to technology, and humanity's limited understanding of conditions in space at the time, which made the cosmonauts' effort a truly heroic undertaking.
Russian actors Yevgeny Mironov and Konstantin Khabensky played the roles of Leonov and Belyaev respectively.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin was joined by Leonov and first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova for a special screening of the space biopic "Time of Pioneers'’ (or alternatively translated 'Time of Those Who Came First' or "The Time of the First Ones).
On April 12, 1961, a booster rocket took into orbit the Vostok spacecraft with the first cosmonaut on board — Soviet citizen Gagarin. Having traveled around the Earth once, the reentry module landed on the territory of the Soviet Union.
On April 7, 2011, the UN General Assembly proclaimed April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first space flight by Gagarin. The resolution was co-authored by more than 60 UN member states.