Monday, October 19, 2015

"Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom" gives more narrative to the protests than did "Maidan"


Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”, by Evgeny Afneevsky, is a compelling documentary tracing, with all on-location, reality footage, the “Euromaidan” student demonstrations in Kiev (or Kyiv) from November 2013 through February 2014, especially around Maidan, after the hard line of Viktor F. Yanulovich, and his determination to take the Ukraine out of Europe and back into Russia’s and Putin’s sphere.   The protests could be compared with the “Orange Revolution” a decade before. 
   
The documentary has considerable commentary in the way of brief bytes of the activists, so it is easier to follow than the longer take of “Maidan” reviewed here July 20.

Again, the brutality of the government troops (“Berkut”) is shocking, especially to see downtown in a major European capital. The film stresses that the protestors were largely born and grew up in an independent Ukraine.  One female makes a point that some people would rather watch than take the personal risk of participation.  At one point, a male demonstrator is ridiculed while completely nude. Later, a kid plays the Chopin "Revolutionary Etude" on an outdoor out-of-tune piano, shortly before the joy to come soon. 

 As with the Middle East, the government apparently tried to cut off the Internet and social media for a time.

At the end, there are tremendous collective celebrations, as Yanulovich will have to give up power.  The movie makes no bones about the idea that “revolution” can become necessary.

Like “Maidan”, the film has many shots of Kiev, stressing the drab, low-rise Soviet architecture broken up by a few monuments or cathedrals.


The official Facebook is here.  The film is distributed directly by Netflix.

The closing credits of the film summarize Putin’s recent aggression, including seizing Crimea.

Wikipedia attribution link for NASA Landsat public domain photo of Kiev 




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