Revolution and dissent, now there are two emotive words, one person’s revolution is another person’s terrorist uprising. There is of cause the ‘bloody uprising’ as portrayed in movies like October 1917: Ten Days that Shook the World made in 1927 about the Russian revolution as well as more recent movies that deal with the Arab Spring. We Are the Giant and Point and Shoot both released in 2014, are two that come immediately to mind. Of cause there is the peaceful revolution like the one in Scotland at present that is trying to break away from the Westminster governmental yoke, 2015’s General Election could give Scotland more power in the Westminster parliament, which might give the Scots another chance at gaining independence?
Sergei Loznitsa’s attempt to film the anti-government protest, which took place in Kiev Independence Square between November 2013 and late February 2014, is a splendid document that captures the events superbly and without sensationalism. Unlike some other documentaries it makes the viewer feel involved in the revolution. It’s not a story of the powerful, but the story of the people on the ground. We witness what makes this type of event, in the annuals of the people’s movement, so special. We watch and listen to the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem, we get to study the organization involved in mounting the occupation of a big city’s central square (something that may eventually come in handy if ever the people of Scotland need to do the same in Freedom Square in Glasgow City Centre!) with the on site preparation of posters and billboards, the massive task of providing food and drink, providing oil drum heating because of the Ukrainian winter and of cause erecting and dismantling barricades as and when necessary, all done by the willing proletariat.
|....turns violent when the authorities move the goal posts.|
The only dialog is the off-screen stage speakers who spell out to the vast crowds the crimes of their politicians and leaders who have refused to listen to the will of the Ukrainian peoples who have demanded closer links to the EU, moving the country further away from Putin’s Russia. Songs sung by the ever growing gathering form the movies soundtrack and the wide long static shots give the impression that we are looking at a moving piece of art work. The campaign is peaceful until just after the New Year in January 2014 when new laws against public gatherings are introduced. There follows an escalation in violence with pitched battles taking place between the protesters and riot police with government sponsored snipers placed on high vantage points to shot and kill members of the crowd, water cannons and tear gas are also used. A final intertitle informs us that 100 protesters were killed, more than 100 were injured and more than 100 people are still unaccounted for. Although the pro Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine it was the start of the ongoing confrontation between pro-Russian supporters and the ethnic Ukrainians.