Winter On Fire
With the turmoil in the Middle East, it is easy to forget an active war between Russia and the West is taking place in Ukraine which has claimed thousands of lives. The film Winter On Fire is nominated for an Oscar and documents the revolution on the streets of Kyiv that ignited that war.
Starting in November of 2013 and lasting the early months of 2014, there were clashes between the people of Ukraine and the corrupt President, who was then on Moscow's payroll and now is in exile there. This movie is a memorial to all who put their lives on the line for freedom in Ukraine.
The best aspect of this movie is the grit. It is filmed down on the frontlines, even as firebombs, tear gas, and snipers are in action. We see how the revolution in Maidan Square grew bigger and bigger. We are eyewitnesses to a collective mind saying, enough is enough.
Some of the faces - and those interviewed in the film - didn't survive the conflict. Yet, what impressed me often was the open sense that everyone was doing this for their children. I was also taken by how quickly the clergy came to the aid of those on the streets as did people in other cities who brought in supplies or joined in the uprising. There were young and old, rich and poor. A revolution looking forward, not behind.
I was moved by the doctor who clearly remains traumatized as she described having to go from victim to victim and decide who was worth saving and who was for all intents and purposes already dead.
I did find myself wishing that the movie spent a little more time in explaining how the protesters were organized. There were people from different defense units (as the protesters called themselves) but one never got the sense of the general cohesion between the groups.
Two images from a non-combat role stick with me from this film. The first is that of a lady playing the violin in the snow. The second, and even more powerful, was a lady - clearly classically trained - who breathed onto her hands to thaw out her fingers and then on the main stage in Maidan, began playing what was an astounding piece of music, to the end that people from both sides popped their heads up to watch and listen. It was a moment of human clarity of what we can be as a species in light of what we still are. I don't think the film ever mentions who she was (maybe they don't know or maybe they assumed everyone knew) but it was a powerful moment.
The footage in this movie is first rate, even if the narrative is a bit disjointed at times. The film is running on Netflix so I recommend you stream it when you get the chance. I rate this 5 of 5.