"Orange Winter" is more than a mere history lesson. Like Norman Mailer's
nonfiction novel "The Armies of the Night,"... this movie characterizes a body
politic as a living thing, and charts its internal changes as if it were the
protagonist in a drama”.
Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times more...
"...inspiring", "a candid and exciting nonfiction account of a fascinating contemporary popular struggle".
Bruce Bennett, New York Sun more...
"A workmanlike piece...a concise and cogent account of epochal events. Global tube exposure awaits."
Joe Leydon, Variety more...
"Dovzhenko's silent masterpiece Earth is invoked as a classic example of Ukrainian revolution... this artistic juxtaposition lends its portrayed events an appropriately mythic tinge".
Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine more...
“has passion to spare...tight and swift”
New York Magazine more
"We Americans love to bask in our smug feeling of superiority over the former Soviet Bloc countries, their culture and their government. That makes Orange Winter doubly relevant, as the United States lurches toward socializing insurance companies and bank losses. Could tent cities be far behind?
The film is thought-provoking, if not as stylish as Americans are used to. No high-concept stunts, no special effects. Just political theater. Director Andrei Zagdansky uses slow narration ranging from simple to poetic to guide viewers over news footage, Russian opera and cinema clips to illustrate the march of history and how little has changed in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War."
Holly J. Wagner Home Media Magazine more
Orange Winter reimagines the extremely contentious Ukraine election of 2004 as an opera, similar to Jessica Yu's latest the Protagonist. Director Andrei Zagdansky intercuts ground-eye footage of the protests, tent city, riots and lengthy court battle with two classical operas: “Godunov” and “La Traviata”. With reform candidate Viktor Yushchenko being poisoned and suffering horrible facial disfigurement and the protest tent cities that inhabited the public squares of Kiev made this historical event extremely photogenic and has led to many documentaries about the "orange revolution" (orange being symbolic of non-violent protest in Ukraine). This crowding of the subject matter makes Zagdansky's approach very refreshing, opera practically being a second religion in the Ukraine it's a fantastic entree to a national culture that rings very sincere and makes opera far less boring and foreign than it normally seems to an American audience.
There also breathtaking moments of democracy's growing pains such as when a television interpreter for the deaf defies station policy of supporting the establishment candidate and signs during a live broadcast, "the media is lying to you, I suspect I will disappear after tonight. Don't trust them." The film also does a fine job of encapsulating some of the cultural divide between Communist stalwart Russian-speakers and the more urban, younger Ukrainian-speaking people.
At the halfway point Zagdansky stops using the opera device and the film loses a bit of momentum but this is a touching and earnest account of what it was like to live through this turning point in Ukraine history.
Erin Donovan, Steady Diet of Film