Punk power

Documentary>> Protest • Russia

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageIt was a protest that lasted less than a minute. On February 21, 2012, members of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk art collective, had just shouted, “Mother Mary please drive Putin away”, when security stepped in. But not before footage of their criticism of the close ties between the church and the state began to go global.

Three group members— Maria Alyokhina (Masha), Yekaterina Samutsevich (Katya) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Nadya)—were arrested on charges of hooliganism inspired by religious hatred. Nadya and Masha were later convicted and are currently serving two-year sentences.

A compelling new documentary, “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer”, spends 90 minutes telling their story.

Using footage from court hearings, newsreels and interviews, interspersed with the group’s rehearsals and guerrilla performances, the co-directors, Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, explore the impact of their punk activism. “Russia is a very conservative country. Pussy Riot’s feminism took conservatives by surprise,” says Pozdorovkin.

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