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French Documentary: Ukraine - Masks of the Revolution

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  • French Documentary: Ukraine - Masks of the Revolution

    French Documentary Film: Ukraine - Masks of the Revolution (with Eng. Subs.)

    The highly anticipated, controversial (to some) Feb. 2016 documentary about so called Maidan Revolution.

    The Movie itself has been produced by high ranking agents of Kremlin inside of French Canal+ TV channel. - Documentary: Ukraine - Masks of revolution. Eng. Subs.

  • #2
    Gulliver Cragg: Lessons from an outrageous film
    Wed, 02/03/2016 - 02:12

    In “The Masks of the Revolution,” French filmmaker Paul Moreira shows Ukraine as a country where the far-right forces are out of control. Photo by Volodymyr Petrov

    Paul Moreira, a French filmmaker, is famous for hard-hitting investigations that show viewers “what the authorities don’t want you to see.” So French-speaking reporters working in Ukraine were curious to see how he’d treat this country in “The Masks of the Revolution” – shown on Monday on the popular Canal+ network, Gulliver Cragg wrote for Kyiv Post.

    My colleagues and I were appalled by what we saw. The film relies on gross simplifications, misunderstandings and sheer deception, all geared towards defending a thesis familiar to viewers of Russian networks: that the far-right in Ukraine is out of control.

    But Moreira was not working for RT (aka Russia Today) and can hardly be suspected of taking Russian money. I think he genuinely believed in his theory… And that’s why the film is perhaps worth some attention even beyond the French-speaking world.

    I can’t enumerate all the errors, lies and manipulations in the film here – I hope Stop Fake are preparing a special edition for that – but to give you an idea of the flavour, the film starts by suggesting that while life for Maidan supporters was happy ever after as soon as Yanukovych fled Mezhyhirya, Crimeans freely voted in a genuine referendum and “Crimea is now Russian”.

    The ‘little green men’ don’t get a mention… Indeed, it’s what the film leaves out, or skims over in a couple of minutes, that makes it really so distorting: principally the war in Donbass. The conflict is, after all, the reason Ukraine’s volunteer battalions exist… And also the reason the mainstream media’s attention quickly moved on from the killings in Odessa on 2 May 2014.

    Moreira imputes this instead to some kind of omertà. He seems to think Odessa was under-reported because pro-Russians died and Ukrainian nationalists were at fault. Actually he mostly just calls pro-Russian Ukrainians “Russian” or “Russian-speaking”, to sustain a convenient ethnic narrative. He doesn’t seem to have noticed that most of the Ukrainian nationalists interviewed in the film speak Russian.

    Then there are the blatant manipulations. A tiny rally by the nationalist Svoboda party is accompanied by commentary about Ukrainians’ economic woes, suggesting that these are pushing up the party’s poll ratings. But he doesn’t actually present those poll ratings, because – annoyingly – they don’t fit his assumptions.

    I could go on. It is hard not to feel angry while watching this film, and Moreira’s extraordinary reaction to the ensuing criticism. On French radio on Monday the director suggested that Benoit Vitkine, the main Ukraine specialist at Le Monde, had written a piece attacking the film in order to curry favour with the Ukrainian authorities, for fear of losing his accreditation otherwise.

    To suggest such motives on the part of someone who has risked not only his future accreditations but his life in reporting from separatist-held areas, is simply outrageous.

    But it’s also a good moment to stop just being outraged and look instead at how Moreira’s misconceptions stem from the failings of the Ukrainian government.

    Paul Moreira believes (or at least, thinks his audience will believe) that reporters in Ukraine risk being banned from the country because in September three BBC correspondents featured on a banned list. This appears to have been a mistake, and they were swiftly removed. But the damage was done.

    The Ukrainian authorities acknowledge readily that they are in an information war in order to justify projects such as the Ministry of Information Policy and Ukraine Today – and yet they fail to realise the huge harm done to the country’s image by taking anti-democratic measures such as restricting media access.

    Or, moreover, by naming a suspected neo-Nazi, Vadim Troyan, to be police chief in Kyiv region in Autumn 2014. Or appointing the Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh an official Defence Ministry adviser. Or allowing the Azov battalion, now integrated into the National Guard, to use the Wolfsangel symbol on their logo. Or failing, as Moreira points out in his documentary, to punish any Ukrainian nationalists for their role in the Odessa tragedy.

    Whatever the reasons behind them, decisions like these are PR disasters for Kyiv. It is they, as much as Russian propaganda, that have fueled a perception of Ukraine as a country where the far right have too much influence. Apparently, Petro Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk don’t understand this. If they did, there is no way the President would have told the BBC that Vadim Troyan was “a hero”, or that the Prime Minister would have even considered allowing the neo-Nazi Andriy Biletsky to be a candidate for his People’s Front party.

    Clearly, far-right groups do exist in Ukraine and have influence, and some weapons. This should be a cause for concern and it is a legitimate topic for foreign reporters. It is not Moreira’s original intention of making a film about this that is at fault, but the way he did it. Yet officials routinely refuse to discuss this issue and put it in its proper place and context. This all contributes to the sensation Moreira says he felt “of being deceived”… And leads people like him to blow things out of proportion and leave the public even more deceived.

    Ukraine’s leaders and media should engage with this issue and encourage a national debate. How do we define far-right? Where does patriotism end and bigotry begin? Where do we draw the line between activist and extremist? Politicians should be addressing these questions and speaking out against those whose views are not compatible with the European values Ukraine claims to espouse. And, crucially, they should be heard doing so on foreign media.

    If this film just further fuels Ukrainians’ indignation and sense of self-righteousness, (as one can see in, for example, a petition launched on Avaaz that suggested, with no evidence whatsoever, that it was Russian-funded) then it will do even more damage here than it may do to public opinion in France. If it leads Ukrainians to ask the right questions, but to come up with the right answers instead of just gross simplistic assumptions as Moreira does, it could even prove to have been useful.

    By Gulliver Cragg, Kyiv Post -
    Gulliver Cragg is a correspondent for France 24, covering Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. He lives in Kyiv
    Gulliver Cragg: Lessons from an outrageous film

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • #3
      On “The Masks of the Revolution” – and on the ethics of journalism
      STOPFAKE.ORG February 01, 2016

      A few words on “Les Masques de la Révolution – The Masks of the Revolution”, by Paul Moreira, to be shown on French TV on Monday, 1st February. The scandal has been brewing in France for the past week as I and a few people – press correspondents, researchers, activists, diplomats – got a hand on it. As we watched and discovered the 52-minute piece, we had to face a compilation of factual mistakes, exaggerations and misleading set-ups. Since then, those have been denounced extensively as a few samples show below:

      Anna Colin Lebedev & Ioulia Shoukan:

      Benoît Vitkine:

      Halyna Coynash: French filmmaker adopts Putins Ukrainian fascist hordes line for Canal Plus ::

      To which Moreira responded here:

      Follow both an endless debate and a game of naming and shaming and guessing who told the truth before anyone else and who is paid by who. And so on, and so forth. I refuse to enter such a game and I want here to salute Anna Colin Lebedev and Ioulia Shoukan who managed to raise the standards of the debate by asking real questions in their latest posts. No, there is no sense in asking for the screening of the documentary to be cancelled. Yes, the theses it underlines deserve consideration and pedagogy. A proper investigation into the Odessa tragedy is essential – so is a solid investigation on the Maïdan deaths, still unresolved. And yes, a debate on the new faces and actions of nationalism in Ukraine is essential to understand and analyse.

      What I want to stress here is that I feel insulted as a French journalist. I have been living in Ukraine since 2011 and I have tried to understand the complexity of this country and of the region – and the challenges it faces. What we may see in Moreira’s piece is nothing new. Given the current context of a war of information, if not a “war ON information”, one may have seen such distortion of facts before. What is new is that it comes from a French journalist with an impressive record of brilliant investigations. He is to screen what he dubs “an investigation” in an investigative show – “Spécial Investigation”, which is usually credited with a reputation of credibility and solid findings – on one of France’s major TV channels. His report will be viewed by millions – just because of his reputation.

      This comes as a shock for me – a young French journalist who claims to represent and implement some standards of objective journalism. Western modern journalism, as we were taught. Hell, I even give lectures on that in Kyiv!

      The most recent posts on the scandal were directed to the audience we, foreign correspondents, work FOR – our readership and viewership – to explain the fallacies of “The Masks of the Revolution”. Let me address the people we work WITH. Ukrainians, Russians, Donbass residents, DNR & LNR representatives, Crimean Tatars, nationalists, civic activists, drug users, HIV-AIDS patients, etc. People who trusted me with information and stories – first and foremost because of what I represented as a French journalist. After the movie screens tonight, I would understand if many of them would feel suspicious to see me coming in. I already know I will have to defend myself and my work. I will have to emphasise that I do not work like « this documentary you have seen on Canal + ».

      And I don’t. I don’t pretend to have seen the flags of the Azov battalion over Maïdan – despite the fact that the battalion was created over two months after the end of the Revolution. I do not evoke the “Crimean referendum to join Russia” without mentioning the other component of the story, that is to say Russian troops deployed in Crimea ahead of the vote. I never come up with a theory, which would make the Ukrainian-Russian language issue as a symptom of an irreconcilable internal division. Provided I would, I would not pretend to ignore that many of the fiercest Ukrainian nationalists – Andriy Biletski first and foremost – are mainly Russian-speakers. When I need to ask questions on security and the impact of armed battalions in Ukraine, I do not go to the Minister of Economics to obtain answers. Those – and many more fallacies – literally glut Moreira’s report.

      I live in Ukraine long enough to understand that here, as anywhere else, nothing and no one is all black or all white. The President, the government, the Parliament, Maïdan revolutionaries, Ukrainian nationalists, Donbass separatists, oligarchs, corrupt civil servants… No one is black or white. Nothing is that simple. I know it because I care enough to try to understand it. It’s exhausting. Yet I want to keep caring and be accountable for it. And I seriously hope I will keep enjoying people’s trust to do so. Trust is the most precious thing we have, as foreign correspondents. It cannot all go to dust, just because of a one journalist who decided to throw it all away.
      By Sebastian Gobert, Nouvelles de l’Est

      On “The Masks of the Revolution” – and on the ethics of journalism

      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp