Sergei Loznitsa, Serhiy Stetsenko, Mykhailo Yelchev
Ukraine, Netherlands, Atoms and Void
Maidan is a careful ethnographic sketch of the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv in 2013-2014. During three months of Euromaidan, Sergei Loznitsa and his cameraman Serhiy Stetsenko recorded only a few weeks of various stages of the protest on a static camera. However, this material was enough to conditionally divide it in the film into four chapters capturing the drama of the revolution: Prologue, Triumph, Fighting, and Postscript.
The peaceful landscape of 2013 demonstrations eventually gave way to the first battles of January-February 2014, the bitter hot phase of the conflict and its unexpected dark narrative.
While the page-turning events on Independence Square were covered by the media more than any other political event in the history of Ukraine, Loznitsa’s film became one of its most important documents. The Maidan camera gave an unbiased view of chaotic historical events. The footage is like a Bruegel canvas, without a single subjective accent or framed portrait. The only driving force of the protest is the agitation of the crowd and the insurgent people are the protagonist of the story.
It was thanks to Maidan that Western audiences gained a more direct picture of the revolutionary events in Ukraine. Loznitsa’s film premiered in Cannes in May 2014 and immediately gained the status of a canonical document of the Revolution of Dignity for the European public. The director himself continued the anthropological study of collectivity in his subsequent documentaries Event (2015) and Austerlitz (2016).
Sergei Loznitsa is a documentary filmmaker and anthropologist, a researcher of the unity among Ukrainians of different ages, genders, social status, and ethnic origin in the struggle for their dignity and the future of the country. “Maidan” combines the informativeness of the document with the poetic nature of a ballad. A single shot in the movie summarizes the struggle for freedom, with the camera’s view rising above the crowd in the European Square to the sky, from where, like the light of Gogol’s moon, the eternity shines on the revolutionary action