Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

(Pokazatelnyy Protsess: Istoriya Pussy Riot)
(UK, Russia, 2013, 86 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Mariya Alyokhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
PRODS Maxyne Franklin, Nick Fraser, Xenia Grubstein
CAM Antony Butts
EDS Simon Barker, Esteban Uyarra
MUS Simon Russell, Pussy Riot
PROD CO Roast Beef Productions
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Bursting onto the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February 2012, feminist art-rock collective Pussy Riot unleashed “Mother of God Drive Putin Away”—a satirical “punk prayer protest.” While lasting only 40 seconds, this act of defiance against the Putin regime’s ties to the Orthodox church culminated with three band members facing lengthy jail sentences for blasphemy and “disrupting the social order.”

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s incendiary documentary examines just how distorted Russia’s supposed social order has become. While Pussy Riot’s arrest and kangaroo court trial have captured the international media’s attention, no one—until now—has delved into the lives of the women beneath the neon balaclavas and their motivations for taking up guitars. A paean to the patron saints of Russian opposition, this impassioned documentary illustrates the importance of wanton rebellion in the face of authoritarianism. When everyone is terrified of speaking out against the state, sometimes there’s no other recourse than thrashing and wailing.

"It remains legitimately shocking that the Putin government would dig its heels in so stubbornly to silence these young women, and to make examples of them even as the world howls… If there’s anything heartening to be found in the story of Pussy Riot, a story that’s still unfolding, it’s in the reminder that the spirit of punk can never be completely co-opted…"—Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

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