‘Do you want to get on the news?’ shouts a protest leader midway through Maidan. The answer from the crowd in and around Kiev’s Maidan Square is a resounding ‘yes’. And they did. The protests against the corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych were daily TV fare in November 2013. Afterwards, too, Ukraine continued to dominate the news, with a conflict that was escalating wildly and now involves half the world. ’Maidan’ depicts the very last incitement before the point of no return.
Filmmaker Sergej Loznitsa, originally from Ukraine, shows a people waking up, saying ‘no’ to Putin’s puppet and ‘yes’ to the European Union. Initially, the atmosphere is peaceful; there’s a lot of singing, praying, oration. But when the riot police intervene with tear gas and batons, things become grim and the square becomes a battlefield. The camera is situated in the crowd but keeps its distance. The director remains impartial. In classic feature-film style, Loznitsa calmly records developments over a three-month period. He avoids sensational images and chooses not to show the worst atrocities. He focuses on the solidarity, the passion, the perseverance and the hope shown by the demonstrators.