Sundance Film Review: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Posted January 21, 2013 in
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Photo Credit: Roast Beef Productions

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
Sundance Film Festival
Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin


On February 12, 2012, the punk-informed feminist art collective Pussy Riot stormed the altar at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, clad in colorful dresses and balaclavas, screaming “It’s God’s shit!” in a performance art piece that would be heard of around the world. Soon after the guerilla performance, meant to protest a lack of separation between church and state, Nadia, Masha and Katia are apprehended by authorities and held indefinitely on charges of hooliganism, eventually sentenced to two years in prison. Using videos of Pussy Riot’s previous performances, interviews with the families of the collective’s members and Russian footage of the court proceedings, Lerner and Pozdorockin present a story of three young women standing up for their ideals against a society that doesn’t understand. According to the film, Russia, unlike much of Western society, never had a punk movement, doesn’t understand provocative performance art and treats any criticism of the Orthodox Church as blasphemy. The women of Pussy Riot, which is less a punk band than a radical feminist group, make powerful statements both in their songs (“Kill All Sexists,” for example) and in their trial speeches. They decry Putin’s totalitarian and hypocritical rule and their society’s closed-minded attitudes, much of which is apparent Lerner’s and Pozdorockin’s footage surrounding the show trial. Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is an inspiring film which explores the limits of free expression and society’s obligation to stand up for itself.

Screenings

Time: 1.23, 9:00 AM Venue: Temple Theatre, Park City

Time: 1.24, 6:00 PM Venue: Egyptian Theatre, Park City

Photos:
Photo Credit: Roast Beef Productions Photo Credit: Roast Beef Productions