Cinema has always been a method of examining the world as it is, with the possibility of raising understanding, inspiring change, and imagining other possibilities. Cinema of Resistance is an ongoing series that embraces these alternate possibilities, animated by the spirit of protest and designed to call out oppression and demand justice. These screenings are designed to provoke thought and spark discussion, beginning right away after the film ends.
As the unjust war against Ukraine rages, the Harvard Film Archive offers Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa’s powerful portrait of popular resistance as a means to reflect on the deeper history of the war, and as a tribute to the courage of a nation that has long been in the geopolitical crosshairs.
Maidan impresses for both its invaluable footage from the frontlines of history and a masterful set of long takes, with a mostly static camera. Loznitsa’s film finds him returning to non-fiction after his allegorical narrative films My Joy and In the Fog to document the so-called “Euromaidan” protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square. The occupation of the square began in November 2013, in opposition to Viktor Yanukovych’s decision not to sign a trade agreement with the European Union but to seek closer ties between the Ukraine and Russia, and culminated in the overthrow of his presidency in February 2014. Loznitsa presents the mounting unrest in a series of tableaux, emphasizing the collective aspect of the protests by eschewing close-ups. His masterful use of framing becomes increasingly impressive as the camera moves closer to the action even as violence erupts. – David Pendleton
For more information on the current war in Ukraine and what you can do, visit Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute.