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Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

It’s a firebrand of a documentary from Netflix, it was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Annual Academy Awards (losing to “Amy”), plus it feels fresh, and immediate, and directly on the pulse. I do not believe it is a great film, however–but it is a very good one. It’s mostly on target in its storytelling, and its you-are-THERE footage is harrowing, and violent, and remarkable. “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” provides all the drama and action of a full-scale action blockbuster…and it’s all real. I only wish filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky had strived for a bit more balance too. I feel like a got a pretty informative grasp of the politics being presented in the film. Also, I’m not saying the much maligned government side of this argument was correct. However, I don’t believe it’s asking too much to hear and see more about their position–no matter how ridiculous and/or corrupt it may indeed be. Otherwise, there is no denying the power of experiencing the violent demonstrations and revolutionary unrest that occurred in 2013 and 2014, as protesters called for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich. In fact, whenever focus does waver, the film-captured turmoil quickly pulls you back into the narrative. Also, a side note: as a long-time boxing fan, it was extremely interesting to see former Heavyweight Champion, Vitali Klitscho putting himself into the mix. A leader of the pro-European party UDAR, Mr. Klitscho attempts to quell the crowd at one point, only to be blasted in the face with a fire extinguisher, as well as getting manhandled by the “radicals”. Priceless stuff. And a strong filmed document.

Grade:  B+

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