DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE'S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM (director: Evgeny Afineevsky; cinematographers: Alex Kashpur, Andriy Havryshchuk, Arturas Morozovas, Constantin Shandybin, Damian Kolodiy, Dmytro Patyutko, Eduard Georgadze, Galyna Sadomtseva-Nabaranchuk, Halyna Lavrinets, Ielizaveta Smith, Inna Goncharova, Kirill Kniazev, Kostyantyn Ignatchuk, Lizogub Khrystyna, Maxim Bernakevich, Maria Komar, Oleg Balaban, Oleg Tandalov, Oles Chernyuk, Pavlo Peleshok, Ruslan Ganushchak, Vyacheslav Tsvetkov, Viktor Kozhevnikov, Vladimir Makarevich, Vyacheslav Poliantcev, Vyacheslav Tihonsky, Yuriy Krivenko, Zhenya Shynkar; editor: Will Znidaric ; music: Jasha Klebe; cast: Cissy Jones (Narrator); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Den Tolmor /Evgeny Afineevsky; Netflix; 2015- U.S.-Ukraine-U.K- in Ukrainian and Russian with English subtitles when needed)

"Captured the revolutionary spirit of the Ukrainians."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A timely straight-forward political documentary chronicling events in 2013 and 2014, where in a period of 93-days there was civil unrest in the Ukraine over the occupation of Maidan square by nationalist protesters. It resulted in the ouster of its president Viktor Yanukovych and the sending in of hostile Russian troops to quell the unrest. Some of the shots in the film were on CNN, but there are so much other footage to ponder. There are also many interviews.

Evgeny Afineevsky ("Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!"/"Divorce: A Journey Through the Kids' Eyes") shoots it from the simplistic view that “the people united will never be defeated,” which has a hollow ring to my ears.

It covers pretty much what the news media reported, that the people were upset that their corrupt president secretly made closer alliances with Russia's Putin.

The Afineevsky film was more interested in promoting separation from Russia and closer ties with the European Union than producing an art film, Afineevsky wags his finger at the opposition and shows us it takes a lot of blood on the street, bravery and a nationalist clamor to oppose the Russians and hope to win.

The film was a little too over melodramatic and manipulative for my taste, but it was earnest, clear-cut, and filled with plenty of good info on the on-going Ukrainian crisis. 

REVIEWED ON 11/27/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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