“Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” is a moving and powerful documentary that tells the story of a country besieged by war.

“Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” is a documentary that takes the viewer on a journey through the war in Ukraine. The film portrays the element of unknown danger with the constant aerial bombardments that weaves itself through the narrative, never letting up, which creates a sense of unease and fear.

The filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky, presents a multiplicity of voices in the documentary, showcasing the diverse experiences of Ukrainians impacted by the war. We hear from a cross-section of people, including young and old, professional and non-professional, military and non-military, religious and secular, each sharing their stories of the ravages the war has had on them. What shines through is their unwavering commitment to fight to the bitter end. Despite facing unbearable odds, they refuse to be beaten.

The camaraderie of the Ukrainians and their sense of hope is moving. Their compassion and unwavering commitment to fight and help themselves drew me into the narrative. The documentary skillfully weaves together many visual elements to create a compelling and insightful portrayal of a country in crisis. First-person interviews, archival footage, stills, animation, narration, third-person interviews, montage editing, and mise-en-scene film footage are all used to great effect.

The film incorporates both interior and exterior footage, which adds complexity to this documentary. Close-ups, medium angles, wide-angle shots, and aerial shots are all interspersed, giving the viewer a sense of the scale and scope of the conflict. The director knits together Ukraine’s conflicted history with Czarist Russia, the USSR, and the Russian state, showing that this war is just the latest act of aggression and inhumanity against the Ukrainian people.

One of the most powerful aspects of the documentary is its ability to speak truth to the propaganda of the Russian state. The filmmaker skillfully juxtaposes the bias coverage of Russia-1 of Russian State TV with the opinions of Russians opposed to the war, such as Boris Nemtsov and Boris Bondarev, and Ukrainians of Russian origin, such as Ilia Noviko, who is fighting for Ukraine.

This gut-wrenching documentary is well-crafted, well-directed, and deserving of attention. It is a testament to the triumph of the will and individual and collective heroism of Ukrainians in the face of war. The film is essentially a call to arms to support the nation of Ukraine in its hour of need against the aggression of the Russian state.

In conclusion, “Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” is a moving and powerful documentary that tells the story of a country besieged by war. It showcases the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people, who despite facing unbearable odds, refuse to give up. The film is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the devastating impact it has had on the people of the country.

Watch the trailer for Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom below


Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom will have its Canadian premiere on Wednesday, March 8 (International Women’s Day) at  7:30 p.m. as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Free tickets for in-person and digital screenings are now available and can be reserved here