Maidan: Uprising in Ukraine

color. 131 min. Sergei Loznitsa, dist. by Cinema Guild, 2015. DVD ISBN 9780781515061. $99.95; acad. libs. $195. Public performance. INT AFFAIRS
What began in November 2013 as a protest over the anti-European regime of Ukraine's now toppled, pro-Russian president Victor Yanukovich turned deadly in January 2014 as police moved to restore order. During the protests in Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), over 100 demonstrators were killed, hundreds more were injured, and many more "disappeared." Scenes of gas masks being distributed shortly before tear gas canisters rain down are haunting. Maidan chronicles the rapid evolution of the resistance to the Ukrainian government from its opening scene of a rendition of the country's national anthem to the final vigil for the victims of police aggression. The entire film is presented in long takes, with no commentary, providing viewers with an unmediated opportunity to explore the resistance, the solidarity, and the mourning. Loznitsa has produced an archive of the opposition to the Yanukovich government and the collective memory of the bloody aftermath.
VERDICT A must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics involved in this contentious region.
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