The consistent visual rigour correlates the cohesion of this indignant tribe. At this point a jittery hand-held aesthetic appears when the conflict against armed authorities strikes. Even prior to this point, when Loznitsa and his team are caught in the thick of blazing, smoke-belching riots, a slight twitch of the camera suggests agitation. Being a true bystander, sitting inside an auditorium, seeing these moments unfold sparked a slight sense of my involvement as the cameraman evaded danger.
Throughout Maidan a disembodied megaphone speaker indirectly acts as a narrator. From officiating the staunch choir of the aforementioned opening shot this voice articulates the inexorable drive into a more morally complex condition. As participants sink into this inescapable quagmire he pleads, “you must preserve your strength and dignity,” there’s a sense of loss. I’m unsure if this commentary was purposely overlaid onto particular scenes throughout the film but judging by Loznitsa’s advocacy of this process it wouldn’t surprise me. In an interview, he’s highlighted re-recording extra audio of a popular song due to the distortion of a live capture.
Either way, there’s sincerity to this pervasive turmoil and other emotions this medium generates. Some will challenge the partiality of the film’s decisive conclusion, noting the victorious resignation of President Yanocovych, as a propagandist manoeuvre but only a solemn pendulum is offered, swaying from grains of hope to their absence. Compared to other broadcastings of this on-going strife, Maidan captures the threads of humanity that weaved this movement together, something many have failed to report.
The primeval sophistication of its camerawork proves the pre-1920s (which had luminaries Thomas Edison and Eadward Muybridge experimenting in sound technology until hindered by synchronisation and playback issues) production isn’t a cobwebbed expression. Other examples would be Jacques Tati, Yasujiro Ozu, Chantal Akerman, Pedro Costa and contemporaries Roy Andersson, Lisandro Alonso and Michel Franco. In the end, however, immobile or not, it’s an emphasis on the image that counts. One matter of concern is whether a film like Maidan and others can still be appreciated as they were for late 19th century audiences. Personally, experiencing this film on a computer screen or even a fully kitted out, monster television wouldn’t bear the same impact.