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  • Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer | Review

    SXSW FILM 2013

    By | March 10, 2013

    PussyRiot

    Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin

    “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” (Karl Marx)

    The only thing more horrible than a government controlling your practice of religion is a government forcing its religious ideologies upon you, and Russian politics have devolved from the former to the latter. Under the reign of Vladimir Putin, it seems as though the Russian Orthodox Church has gained more and more influence on Russian politics. This is one of the main reasons that three members of the female punk rock collective Pussy Riot were arrested while performing inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Pussy Riot’s performance cleverly vocalized their staunch opposition to Putin and the increasing political power of the Russian Orthodox Church; because Pussy Riot not only believes that Putin is an evil dictator, but they also insist upon the separation of church and state.

    Modern day Russia is a country that purportedly offers more freedom to its constituents than it has in the last century, but there are still a lot of social, political and spiritual lines that the Russian government will still not allow people to cross. Pussy Riot just so happens to cross all of those lines repeatedly. They are a collective pariah that has the backing of several powerful international entertainers which makes them all the more threatening to Putin; because for someone who wants the world to respect him, Pussy Riot is the antagonizing gnat hellbent on revealing his tyrannical techniques to a worldwide audience. Despite having three members jailed for the staged event at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, that was also the moment that catapulted Pussy Riot to international fame. They became household names everywhere, especially in the “democratic” western world. This one event ended up being one of the most effective political stunts of recent history.

    Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer is the first documentary out of the gate about this historical event. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin document the events adequately, combining archival footage with talking head interviews; yet I was hoping for Pussy Riot to be given more of a voice. I feel like Pussy Riot only touches upon the surface of the women of Pussy Riot. It seems like they would have so much more to say about — well — everything. I suspect we will probably see a few more documentaries about Pussy Riot in the near future, and here’s hoping they delve a bit deeper into the subjects’ background, motives and agenda.

    Rating: 8/10

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