“A Rising Fury” is a poignant and immersive documentary that spans an impressive eight-year timeline, offering a heartfelt glimpse into a critical chapter of history.
For all that you might know about the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, this documentary made by filmmakers Ruslan Batytskyi and Lesya Kalynska provides a more in-depth look, capturing not just the evolution of the lives of the persons at the centre of this film but also broader societal changes and political shifts over this period.
The documentary begins with the backdrop of the peaceful protest in Kyiv in 2013, known as the Maidan Revolution. This protest was a significant moment in Ukrainian history, marked by demonstrations against government corruption and demands for greater political transparency.
The narrative then shifts to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which is a pivotal and tragic moment in Ukraine’s contemporary history. The invasion led to intense conflict and upheaval in various regions of Ukraine.
All this while, the film also follows the love story between Pavlo and Svitlana, who met during the Maidan Revolution. Their relationship is at the core of the narrative, suggesting that their journey is intertwined with the broader political and social developments in Ukraine.
The documentary first introduces us to Pavlo, in a remarkable fashion. It provides us with glimpses of his life as far back as 2007, allowing us to witness the incredible transformation he undergoes from a young boy into a mature man. This approach, showcasing Pavlo‘s growth forces us to be invested in his life and struggles. He loses his family home so he joins the Ukraine military efforts to help defend his country.
We learn about his friendship with an unlikely character, who later becomes an adversary on the other side of the conflict.
What initially appears as a lighthearted pastime, playing speedball (paintball), actually transforms into tactical training for the young men and also an attempt at shaping them into becoming defiant of Ukranian ideals.
This transformation is a captivating narrative thread that highlights how the seeds of resilience and resourcefulness were sown even before the turbulent events of the Maidan Revolution and the subsequent Russian invasion.
Amidst the chaos and tumultuous events that define the documentary, “A Rising Fury” also beautifully portrays the blossoming love story between Pavlo and Svitlana. Their love story serves as a beacon of hope and humanity in the face of adversity. Viewers will find themselves emotionally invested in their relationship, often holding their breath during tense moments, hoping that nothing untoward happens to either of them.
The documentary skillfully weaves together intimate moments of tenderness between Pavlo and Svitlana with the broader political and social context of Ukraine‘s struggle for independence. This juxtaposition of personal love against the backdrop of political turmoil adds depth and emotion to the narrative. It reminds us that, even during grave circumstances, the human spirit can endure and find love and connection.
Throughout the eight-year journey chronicled in “A Rising Fury,” the dedication and perseverance of the Ukrainian people are a central theme. It showcases the unwavering commitment of individuals like Pavlo, Svitlana and some other activists to their homeland, their democratic ideals, and each other. The filmmakers capture not only the external conflicts but also the internal struggles and resilience of these characters.
There are moments in the film where you find yourself holding your breath, hoping that nothing tragic befalls either of them. We get to see them grow and start a family whilst remaining in the fight and hoping to secure a better situation for their children.
In the grand scheme of things, “A Rising Fury” is more than a mere documentary. It’s a testament to the endurance of the human spirit, a love story set against a backdrop of turmoil, and a powerful representation of a nation’s fight for independence. This film manages to capture a profound slice of history, skillfully blending personal narratives with broader political events, leaving a lasting impact on its viewers.
I will score this documentary film 4 out of 5 stars.
In the end “A Rising Fury” is not a propaganda piece. It isn’t a film that was made to force you to take sides. But it certainly does immerse you in the struggles of the people of Ukraine. Particularly through the eyes of Pavlo and Svitlana.
It explores themes such as love, resilience, idealism, and the human cost of war. “A Rising Fury” is certainly a must-watch for everyone.