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

Netflix earned themselves an Academy Award nomination back in 2013 with their debut documentary The Square, the story of the Egypitian revolution of 2011. Now they’re back with the story of the Ukranian revolution of 2013-2014 with Winter on Fire.

Whilst a lot of focus this month is likely to be on Netflix’s first feature movie Beasts of No Nation those looking for a documentary should certainly turn their attention towards Winter on Fire. A revolution told by revolutionaries Winter on Fire depicts the battle between the Ukrainian people and then president  Viktor Yanukovych over the latter strengthening ties with Russia and Putin.

Russian director Afineevsky used 28 camera men and women on the ground to document the events that took place in Kiev during late 2013 and whilst the film may really only offer one view point it does so effectively, with the events playing out like a real life drama.

The protest in Maidan is one of the revolution’s big moments and the film captures it expertly, offering a diverse range of interviews and using a brilliant array of collected footage to drop us right into the middle of the action. One sequence involving a clash between the people and the  Bergut, a Ukrainian special forces outfit is particularly well captured- heightening the drama with some great footage.

Afineevsky’s film takes one stand point throughout- that of the people vs the power and never explores the aftermath of the revolution at all, which is slightly dissapointing. That being said Winter on Fire is a brutal look into the power of the people and is a well edited documentary with plenty of first hand interviews.

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