June 11, 2013

Movie Review: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer


HBO kicked off their summer series where they'll be premiering a new film every Monday night. Last night was the premiere of a movie I've been very interested in seeing, "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer." If you don't know who/what Pussy Riot is, real quickly they are a feminist protest group in Russia who did performances in public landmarks wearing masks. After doing one of their performances in an Orthodox church they were arrested. But I highly recommend you do more research and learn about their message. Director Mike Lerner said, “The story of Pussy Riot is about a lot of things: politics, religion, national identity, gender equality, the nature of freedom and the enduring power of punk rock.” The film opens up with the following quote:


"Art is not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it." - Bertolt Brecht


The movie is filmed over the period several months before their arrest and 7 months after when they are sentenced to 2 years in a labor camp. There's unprecedented access to the court room during the trial, which will show the stark contrast between the American and Russian justice system. While most of the world was showing support - like Madonna at one of her concerts - Russia was a much different picture. One protestor said:

"If they don't want to live in a world with men, they should move to an island..." 


Old Orthodox men were calling them "stubborn demons" and witches and said that they should call themselves "deranged vaginas" rather than Pussy Riot. Putin has created a very male-dominated society especially in the Orthodox church, which is exactly why Pussy Riot protested there.

The 3 women were charged with disrupting social order among other loosely defined terminology. When they gave their closing arguments they emphasized that they had used peaceful methods and the charges brought against them were erroneous. One of the members, Katia, was able to be freed during her appeal where she brought in a new lawyer stating how she wasn't able to participate in the act since the cops bum rushed her beforehand.

It's an incredible story about injustice that shouldn't feel far from home. Even though it takes place in Russia, here in America we are experiencing just as harsh injustices such as the war against whistleblowers and the war on women. If you call yourself a feminist then you need to watch. All women can take a page out of Pussy Riot's feminist handbook.

What movies have you watched recently?

1 comment:

  1. Such an interesting group! Glad to see people talking about them. =]

    ReplyDelete

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