Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Two years ago, a Netflix documentary titled “The Square,” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. The film was about Egypt’s passive fight to win back their freedom, which was being encroached on by the imposing government. It was gritty, in your face, on the street, with the people involved, seemingly while it was happening. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are still so many countries that do not have basic freedoms, even though there are intelligent people who know what freedom brings. Now, here we are two years later, and another Netflix documentary is nominated for an Academy Award. This one titled “Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom,” and unfortunately it feels like the exact same film as “The Square,” except in the Ukraine instead of Egypt. Once again, the citizens of Ukraine are fed up with their government and converge on a square to fight passively. But once again, force is used by the officers and all hell breaks loose. Instead of interviews with those heavily involved, we get interviews with priests that open their doors to the citizens after run-ins with the armed police and a kid that was heavily involved with the happenings at the square. There are descriptions of these really terrible things, but the imagery rarely matches the stories and although there are some startling sequences of people dying, the majority is simply repetitive shots of the large groups of people.

So, whereas “The Square” felt raw and fresh, “Winter On Fire” feels like more of the same thing. And although taking a look at multiple countries and their fights for freedom is important, the documentary itself feels uninspired.

What’s its competition? Everything. Seeing as it’s not the only Netflix documentary nominated, with “What Happened, Miss Simone?” also getting a nomination and seeing as the Academy has been music documentary focused for quite some time now, even that film has a better shot of winning than “Winter On Fire,” not to mention “Amy” being the huge front-runner and “The Look Of Silence,” a follow-up to the Oscar nominated “The Act Of Killing” are both much more on the radar than this one.

Previous nominations? These are the first Academy Award nominations for Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor.

“Winter On Fire” (2015) Trailer:

“The Square” (2013) Trailer:

amy cartelland lookofsilence whathappenedmisssimone

// Produced by Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor //Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky //
// Dated Viewed: Friday, January 15th, 2016 // NETFLIX STREAMING //  41 films – 45 days //

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