Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom (2015)

EVGENY AFINEEVSKY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

United Kingdom/Ukraine/USA, 2015.  , , Netflix, Passion Pictures, , , , , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by Evgeny Afineevsky, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .  Produced by Evgeny Afineevsky, Den Tolmor.  Music by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 2015.  Toronto International Film Festival 2015.

Following the nation’s declaring independence from Russia in the early nineties, the people of Ukraine hope to increase their prosperity by joining the western world via membership with the European Union.  President Victor Yanukovich says all the right things about joining the EU but his intentions, it turns out, are aligned with Putin’s desire to maintain control of the nation.  When it is announced that the Ukraine will not be signing up, the populace snaps:  a small crowd gathering in Kiev’s Maidan Square very quickly becomes a ninety day revolution that sees the people standing up to government armed forces and paid thugs, in some cases paying for this with their lives, in many more receiving violent beatings, determined to have the president unseated and their demands met.  It’s a shorter time period than in Tahrir Square (in Cairo you don’t have the kind of winter that you get in Kiev, after all), but the intensity of this revolution is something to behold in this awe-inspiring documentary that features grisly footage of violence and inspiring scenes of impassioned citizens.  Director Evgeny Afineevsky has numerous cameras on the ground to capture the personalities and perseverance of the people who see no other way to ensure a hopeful future, and assembles these scenes with an immediacy that will make this film worthy of the best political documentaries you’ve ever seen.  Upsetting and inspiring, it’s incredibly dynamic and a superb record of a historic moment that celebrates the triumph of this particular story’s conclusion despite the tragedies to follow.

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