I watched a lot of documentaries lately. The Act of Killing (Jagal). The Square. Dispereert Niet. The Smartest Guys in the Room. Hot Girls Wanted. The Look of Silence (Senyap). Jalanan (Streetside). Living on One Dollar. Whatever title I can’t remember. But, nothing is as moving as Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.
(spoiler alert & long post alert, this is basically a review lol)
I spent nearly the entire movie crying, except two scenes of laugh: when the people put kitchen appliances in their head because of a new law which won’t permit people wearing helmet (yes ofc I remember *that* profile picture of mine) and near the end of the movie when a toddler smile and said Glory to Ukraine 😀
I found the Revolutionary Etude in the middle of the movie super relevant. Even though in this case, it’s Ukrainians vs Ukrainians (the Etude refers to Poland’s November Uprising 1831, vs Russia). As relevant as Ukraine’s national anthem which is sung again and again by the protesters.
Above all, I am shocked seeing people beaten brutally by the police. How the Berkut raided an emergency hospital. How Titushky also present there, not only in Indonesia (preman) and Egypt (baltagiya). And now I know how provocateurs work in chaos. Yes, those things are in media everyday and it happens all around the world in conflict area – but in this case, it is beautifully-yet-painfully told a movie: just as the one in Les Miserables! There are also more personal stories. One of them is when a doctor tell the audience that it’s heartbreaking to just admit that a patient is dead and not continue the CPR, because there are next patients waiting to be saved. If you try to save the current one, you might not have the chance to help the next.
(For the background, I know Ukraine’s case through an Universiteit Leiden public lecture and an Ukrainian friend I made when he sits next to me on a transatlantic flight, so not the media)
I know that the critics say that the movie only sees from one point of view which wants Ukraine to be part of EU, but, really, the audience are taken by the story. Told you before, I shed my tears throughout the film. Every scene leaves a scar in your heart. Every scene is a climax. 10/10.