Fjords Reviews

HOME | ART REVIEWS | Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom, dir. Evgeniy Afineevsky


January 07, 2016
Share Button


Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom by Russian-Israeli director Evgeniy Afineevsky features a series of interviews intercut with brutal footage of the protests in Ukraine’s Kiev in December 2013 through February 2014. The documentary is a part of a Netflix Original Series and has already been screened at several festivals in Venice, Telluride and Toronto. On December 1st, Winter on Fire made it to the Oscar’s shortlist for Best Documentary Feature.

The film is the story of a “revolution in the making.” A peaceful student protest on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) against the actions of President Viktor Yanukovich unfolds into a full-scale war. Interviewees share memories of a police massacre at the protest; they discuss comradery, bravery, and the deaths of friends and family members. The interviewees are people of different age groups and social classes. One of the most remarkable stories is told by a 12-year old boy. The horror of war and despotism is shown through the interviewees’ tears and through the brutal footage of the attacking police force. Afineevsky’s crew included protesters who gave the director their own footage, making the documentary a true citizen or even partisan-made film.

For the most part, Afineevsky is more interested in capturing dramatic stories than maintaining journalistic objectivity. His rhetoric could probably be accused of idealism and one-sidedness, since the other sides of the conflict are not presented at all. He chose his heroes and sticks to their discourse and their journeys. However, the unfolding of the events is presented with meticulous attention to maps, dates and names.

The first Netflix film about the ‘color revolutions’ was Square by Jehane Noujaim, which followed the revolution in Egypt. In Winter on Fire, Afineevsky takes us to another country, another square (Maidan) but shows us a story very similar in its drama. Winter on Fire is another Netflix produced documentary about people’s revolutions of the last decade. Both Winter on Fire and Square are mostly made for a younger American audience and do not show multiple sides, various opinions, and the overwhelming complexity of the movements and political intrigues. Instead the films show human drama through a clear and easy structure, and the very Hollywood plot of a “fight for freedom.” Afineevsky did bring the famous Hollywood editor Will Znidaric on board to work with the footage.

In Winter on Fire, one of the officers fighting with the protesters said the youngsters in Maidan “...were born free. You can’t defeat them.” Despite some narrowness and naivety in his directorial approach, Afineevsky finds the motives behind all of these revolutions, which should help viewers gain new perspective on the world. That is certainly the point of great art: new perspectives and freedom.


Santoalla-- the Spaces Between

Reading Arthur Miller in Tehran, The Salesman

Killing the ISIS Propaganda Machine, City of Ghosts

Bewitched, Bothered and Beguiled, The Beguiled– A Film Review

A Spoonful of Sugar-- Not Saccharine The Big Sick: A Film Review

Fiona and the Tramp, Lost in Paris- a review

Movie Review: Beatriz at Dinner

Not Made in America - Three films that get it right: The Wedding Plan, One Week and a Day, and The Commune

Let’s talk about the hard stuff: Get Out

Teddy Thompson’s Ultimate Funeral Mix Tape

Cattelan the Perspectivist

Jason McLean

Moray Hillary, Pre-New Reflective by Heather Zises

Cameraperson, dir. Kristen Johnson: stories from behind the camera lens

SELFISH, Review by Heather Zises

Winter Realm Series by Noah Becker

Paul Rousso at Lanoue Fine Art

Strange Days directed by Kathryn Bigelow (1995)

Airan Kang, The Luminous Poem at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Damien Hoar De Galvan at Carroll and Sons

Antigone, 2015, directed by Ivo van Hove

World of Tomorrow and the Quit-Bang Language of the Future

Karen Jerzyk's unsettling Parallel World

Quintet, Directed by Robert Altman, 1979

Classic Movie Short Review: Croupier (1998)

CEK - Concrete Functional Sculptures

Popeye, Directed by Robert Altman, 1980

Alexis Dahan, ALARM! At Two Rams

Do Ho Suh, Drawings, at Lehmann Maupin

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Nir Hod, Once Everything Was Much Better Even the Future

Reuven Israel, Multipolarity

Review of Boyhood

3 Women, Directed by Robert Altman, 1977

Exhibition Review: Mario Schifano 1960 – 67

Subverting the Realist Impulse in the Work of Shauna Born

Linder: Femme/Objet by Erik Martiny

What We Do in the Shadows by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Kara Walker, A Subtlety

Justin Kimball at Carroll and Sons

Kay Rosen: Blingo

Told & Foretold: The Cup in the Art of Samuel Bak, at Pucker Gallery

Collective Memory Manipulated: Sara Cwynar’s Flat Death

Letinsky’s Creases Turn Sour

Universal Archive

Art Paris Art Fair 2013 Review

Paris Street Art Musée de la Poste

Trellises by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann

Accumulation: Sculptural work by Alben at Gallery Nines

The Colour of Laughter

Topography of Destruction Kemper Museum

L'art en Guerre : France 1938-1947

The Louvre Relocates to Africa

Hopper the Frenchie

A French Priest, Tears and Fire the Art of Jean-Michel Othoniel

North Korean Defector's U.S. Art Premiere