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Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (Pokazatelnyy Protsess: Istoriya Pussy Riot) (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byJennifer Tate03/07/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is a thoroughly engaging and enlightening documentary, which gets up-close-and-personal with the three female Pussy Riot members that were sent to jail for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral.

What’s it all about?
Directed and produced by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer tells the well-publicised story of Nadia, Masha and Katia, three feminist members of the punk-rock activist group Pussy Riot that performed inside Russia’s main cathedral in protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Accused of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, the young women were arrested and sentenced to two years imprisonment each, which sparked considerable criticism and protests around the world. Exploring the real people behind their colourful balaclavas, the documentary follows their trials and explores how political and religious forces schemed to make an example of three women that dared to make protest art against Russia’s ruling powers.

The Good
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is an engaging and fascinating portrait of Nadia, Masha and Katia and directors Lerner and Pozdorovkin go into great detail about their childhoods and backgrounds, which in turn gives the documentary a profoundly intimate feel. The archival footage of the girls when they were children up until the present day, and interviews with their parents, help to explain their journeys and these scenes are captivating to watch. However, it’s in the courtroom (where the film tends to spend most of its time in the final third) where the guts and true characteristics of the three young women shine through, with their thought-provoking socio-political speeches, which serve as a one finger salute to the authorities standing around them.

The Equally Good
Not forgetting the global outrage they caused, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer also speaks to a select group of outraged opponents and shines a light on the girls’ newfound international fame (Madonna, Peaches and Yoko Ono have famously voiced their support for the group), which help to highlight the scale of the unjust responses to their actions. It has to be said though, that the documentary’s reluctance to mention anything about the eight other members of the group is a little disappointing.

Worth seeing?
Impressively intimate and sympathetically directed, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (or Pokazatelnyy Protsess: Istoriya Pussy Riot, to give its full Russian name) is a fascinating and absorbing documentary that provides a detailed portrait of three plucky young women. Worth seeking out.

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Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (Pokazatelnyy Protsess: Istoriya Pussy Riot) (18)
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Content updated: 17/09/2014 16:34

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