Orange Winter

A workmanlike piece of efficient reportage, "Orange Winter" examines the "orange revolution" that was ignited on the streets of Kiev in the wake of the hotly contested 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Helmer Andrei Zagdansky, a Kiev native currently based in the U.S., occasionally juxtaposes the real-life drama with key scenes from "Earth," Victor Dovzhenko's 1930 classic about life and death on Ukrainian collective farms.

A workmanlike piece of efficient reportage, “Orange Winter” examines the “orange revolution” that was ignited on the streets of Kiev in the wake of the hotly contested 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Helmer Andrei Zagdansky, a Kiev native currently based in the U.S., occasionally juxtaposes the real-life drama with key scenes from “Earth,” Victor Dovzhenko’s 1930 classic about life and death on Ukrainian collective farms. But the docu works best when it simply offers a concise and cogent account of epochal events. Global tube exposure awaits.

From the start, Zagdansky underscores the enormity of the stakes — and the potential for fraud — as opposition leader Victor Yushchenko faces off against Victor Yanukovich, outgoing president Leonid Kuchma’s hand-picked successor. (Reportedly fearful of prosecution for crimes committed during his tenure, Kuchma had a vested interest in installing a sympathetic heir.) Even before all votes are tallied, the state-controlled media proclaims Yanukovich as the new president. But Yushchenko — glaringly disfigured after surviving a poisoning attempt during his campaign — inspires supporters bedecked in orange (the signifying color of Yushchenko’s camp) to launch massive protests. The rest, as they say, is history. Tech values are solid.

Orange Winter

Production: An AZ Films production. Produced by Andrei Zagdansky, Gleb Sinyavsky. Directed, edited by Andrei Zagdansky. Written by Alexander Genis.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W, DigiBeta), Vladimir Guevsky, Igor Ivanov, Pavel Kazantzev; music, Alexander Goldstein. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, May 21, 2007. English, Ukrainian, Russian dialogue. Running time: 72 MIN. Narrator: Matthew Gurewitsch.

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