Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

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Pokazatelnyy protsess: Istoriya Pussy Riot

“There have always been witches who refuse to repent.” — Orthodox protestor at Pussy Riot trial

Year: 2013
Country: Russia, UK
Running time: 91 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence, offensive language, sex scenes

Producers: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin
Photography: Antony Butts
Editor: Esteban Uyarra
Music: Simon Russell, Pussy Riot
In Russian with English subtitles

With: Nedezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich

Festivals: Sundance 2013

Arrested for hooliganism in a central Moscow cathedral, the three members of the Russian art/punk/performance troupe Pussy Riot have remained able to say a great deal more about themselves in public than media coverage generally lets on. While the odds may be totally against them, they stay cool, wily and defiantly clear in their contempt for Putin and arbitrary state authority. Filmmakers Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin don’t miss a word. They also meet the women’s parents and other (unapprehended) Pussy Rioters, and capture a few choice words from the Orthodox right.

“Note to authoritarian regimes: don’t mount a show trial if the defendants are more media-savvy than you are. This and about a dozen other ideas – including the value of performance art and the power of Putin – are behind this kick-ass picture about Russian punk band Pussy Riot… Charismatic arrestees Masha, Katia and especially Nadia; and coverage of the trial and demonstrations both for and against Pussy Riot give this doco electrifying energy. See it.” — Susan G. Cole, Now

“They're not John, Paul and Ringo, but Nadia, Masha and Katia — aka Pussy Riot — are now among the most famous rockers in the world. In Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, they also appear to be the bravest…

Pussy Riot is a band of self-aware provocateurs (their slogans include ‘Kill All Sexists’, ‘Kill All Conformists’ and ‘Kill All Putin-ness’). The three seem unimpressed when told Madonna has dedicated a song to them during a concert; they're far more interested in launching remarkably articulate defenses of themselves before the Russian court.” — John Anderson, Variety