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Ten movies about Maidan

Ten movies about Maidan
Source: BBC Ukraine
Article by: Oleh Karpyak
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
BBC Ukraine compiled a list of ten movies that show the protests at various angles to commemorate the anniversary of Maidan. They include short films, a documentary TV series, portraits of protesting women, a journalist investigation of the shootings on Institutska and a social drama filmed with the protests as the backdrop.

Some of the films are available online.

One of these movies, Stronger than Arms, will be in Ukrainian movie theaters starting November 27. 

All Things Ablaze 

All Things Ablaze

Authors: Oleksandr Techynsky, Olexiy Solodunov and Dmytro Stoykov

“This movie is not about the revolutions which transformed Ukraine this winter. It is not really about that. It is best described as a universal example of a special type of rebellions – ones that end in bloodshed,” the creators write about their movie.

In the fall the movie received a prize at the German movie festival DOK Leipzig as an “outstanding Eastern-European film.”

The description on the festival’s website says: “There is a scene at the heart of the film whose length takes it to the limits of endurance but makes its symbolism almost palpable: protesters joyfully and forcefully demolish a huge bust of Lenin, taking victory photos (not quite sure about what precisely Lenin has to do with their hatred) while an old Soviet character hugs his beloved colossal stone fragment and refuses to let go until he almost collapses. The Maidan as a battlefield. Quelle horreur!”

The jury said the movie was convincing, consistent and always at the heart of the events, shoulder-to-shoulder with the main characters: “The film does not intend to reflect the content of the events, but the experience of being witness to a fight having gone awry and ending in despair, helplessness and death.”

Trailer: Vimeo

Where to watch: Journeyman 

Pray for Ukraine 

Pray For Ukraine

Authors: director Yevhen Afiniyevsky, Pray for Ukraine Production (US), Ukr.Stream.TV, SPN Production, Spilnobachennya et al.

Pray for Ukraine is a cultural memorial to those who, at the cost of their own welfare, health and even lives, fought for their rights and the rights of the children to a dignified future in their own country,” says film director Yevhen Afiniyevsky.

The movie, among other things, tells the story about a boy, Romka, who lived in Maidan and threw Molotov cocktails. The authors of the movie also found videos of an interview with Sehiy Nigoyan, the 21-year-old Dnipropetrovsk citizen who was the first victim of the shootings.

“I want this movie to be seen by as many people in the world as possible, because this is the truth about the strong, unbreakable Ukrainian nation,” said the wife of the President of Ukraine, Maryna Poroshenko, after the early showing of the movie.

According to director Serhiy Proskurnya, Pray for Ukraine “is a collective portrait of unbelievable beautiful people. This is why it will reach every heart.”

Another spectator who saw the movie, described her impressions as follows: “Everyone who sees this movie will change. Even those who had not been in Maidan. This is what a real work of art should do – change people.”

By the end of the year, organizers promise to show the movie in Toronto, New York, Tokyo, Warsaw, London, Calcutta and Abu Dhabi.

Trailer and snippets from the movie:

Where to watch. The international release is planned for 2015.

Maidan. The Art of Resistance

Author: director Antin Mukharsky (Orest Liuty).

An energetic movie filmed following all the cannon of Western TV documentaries. Dynamic montage, a lot of soundtracks, people’s stories told by the first person. The main story of the resistance is told by the director of the movie himself – TV presenter, actor and writer Antin Mukharsky.

“A not well-known but proven fact is that the fire of the Ukrainian revolution was lit by artists. They were the ones to throw the first Molotov cocktails on December 1 in Bankova street, they began the active phase of the rebellion on Hrushevskoho on January 19,” the authors of the movie write.

“The birth of the Ukrainian nation coincided with the birth of a new aesthetic and new forms of artistic being,” they add.

Where to watch: YouTube

Maidan Massacre 

Director: John Beck Hofman (US)

One of the few foreign movies about Maidan made by US American John Beck Hofman, who worked on movies for the NASA and National Geographic.

In his movie, presented as a journalistic investigation, the authors tries to find an answer to the question who killed the people in the Kyiv city center on February 18 and 20.

The film has footage of the Maidan shooting, which is followed by interviews with a police officer, an opposition MP, a protester, a Right Sector member, a lawyer, a special ops servicemen and an American criminal expert.

The author presents various versions of who is culpable for the murders without taking sides.

The movie also puts under doubt the efficacy of the official investigation of the Maidan murders.

The movie ends with footage of protesters beating up the police. Meanwhile the voiceover by US Department of State representative Victoria Nuland speaks about a peaceful protest and the prayers of the protesters for peace in Ukraine.

Where to watch: Youtube 


Author: Serhiy Loznitsa

One of the first movies about Maidan whose world premier took place on May 21 at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie did not win any awards.

Almost the entire movie is filmed using a static camera on a tripod, and as such, is reminiscent of surveillance footage. The viewer finds out what is happening onscreen from the few subtitles between the parts of the movie. There is no voiceover.

“The professional reviewers find a lot of nice things to say about Maidan. What they don’t tell you is how dull it is to watch. I went hoping to learn more about a contentious and important historic event and learnt only that its possible to make a film in which the makers don’t edit out the bits where people wander into shot with their backs turned to the camera. I went with someone not knowledgeable about the events and they were bored and irritated by the absence of context. On the upside, i may now know the words to the Ukrainian national anthem, which we are treated to no less than 3 times in full. Sorry. Maidan is a lost opportunity to this ordinary viewer’s eyes,” writes an English-speaking reviewer on IMDB.

Another English-speaking viewer from Montreal agrees with the other and calls the movie “a great disappointment”: “I went to see the Maidan to learn more about this historic event, and sadly, I came away knowing no more than I did before seeing the film.”

Trailer: YouTube

Where to watch: the movie came out in Ukrainian movie theaters in the summer. Before that, Serhiy Loznitsa said the movie would be uploaded to the Internet for free viewing. This has not happened yet.

The Winter That Changed Us

The Winter That Changed Us

Author: 1+1 and Babylon’13

A series of documentary movies whose premier took place in April on 1+1 – forty days after the killings in the Kyiv city center.

The first episode titles The Heaven’s Hundred tells the stories of those who died in Maidan.

“This is a story about those who died for freedom and their own country. It is still unclear how many people are in the Heaven’s Hundred… Not only those who were killed in the center of the Ukrainian capital in the end of February. They are also those who fought against the regime in various parts of the country and then went missing or was killed since the beginning of Euromaidan,” say the authors of the movie.

Other episodes show the confrontations on Hrushevskoho, Automaidan, Yanukovych’s residence in Mezhyhirya, the Self-Defense and the fire in the Trade Union House.

Where to watch: EuromaidanPress translated the movies

The Female Faces of Revolution

Author: 1+1, Sister’s Production

Another documentary made by 1+1 which tells the story of the women of Maidan.

The blurb says: “A wife who stood in the line of fire together with her husband. A girl who fell in love with a regular young man, and lost a hero. A woman who turned into a warrior. A mother who ended up on the opposite side of the barricade to her son. A mother who raised a conscious son but ended up raising a hero. A hero of the Heaven’s Hundred… Each of them looked death in the eyes, but found strength within themselves to continue living. Maidan changed their lives forever.”

Where to watch: YouTube

Stronger than Arms

Authors: Babylon’13

A full-length documentary movie which will be out in movie theaters on November 27. However, it has not been announced yet.

“Stronger than Arms is our history which ignites hears. It mentions the events and the people who have been building new Ukraine since Euromaidan until the war in the East,” write the authors of the movie.

Trailer: YouTube 

Where to watch: in movie theaters after November 27.

Euromaidan. Rough Cut

Authors: Roman Bondarchuk, Volodymyr Tykhy, Kateryna Hornostay, Andriy Lytvynenko et al.

A compilation of short movies by young Ukrainian directors presented soon after Maidan at the Docudays UA film festival.

The shorts show both everyday life in Maidan and the hottest moments of the resistance.

The compilation is planned for showing in Kyiv on November 20.

“This is a movie about the three months of the revolution, from the indignant protest to the national unity, from pots on people’s heads to batons and bulletproof vests,” write the authors of the movie.

“To me Euromaidan is previous because it has the energy of various directors. It is thus consonant to the revolution, wherein the energy of different people, through uniting, achieved victory,” says co-director of the movie Roman Bondarchuk.

In the past months the movie was shown in Budapest, Vilnius, Tbilisi and Iglav (the Czech Republic). It is also planned for showing in Amsterdam and Moscow.

At the movie festival in Iglav, the jury awarded Euromaidan with a special award, the Silver Eye, reports Telekritika.

Trailer: Vimeo

Once Upon A Time In Ukraine

Author: Ihor Parfionov

The movie is interesting because it is the first non-documentary movie about Euromaidan known today.

The social drama Once Upon A Time In Ukraine was presented at the German Cottbus festival in the beginning of November.

According to the festival’s website, the movie did not receive any awards.

In the movie, the main character, Nina, comes to Kyiv from Crimea to seek justice. Her friend was killed, and Nina herself was raped by a police officer. In Kyiv, she finds new ‘revolutionary friends.’

The authors say the movie has no decorations and all the scenes were filmed using real events as the backdrop.

“Together with documentary footage, the viewer sees the actors work. Most of them are not professional,” says the description.

The fact that the actors are amateurs is obvious even in the trailer.

Trailer: YouTube

Source: BBC Ukraine
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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