Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer documentary comes to Saskatoon

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Film on Russian punk group plays at Broadway Theatre Friday, Feb. 28

Amidst the strange, bizarre and unsettling images that came out of the 2014 Olympics, among the most dispiriting were those of Pussy Riot being attacked with horsewhips by members of Russia’s Cossack militia.

Members of the now-infamous punk group were left bruised and bloody in the altercation and, depending on how much you were willing to ignore the well-documented human rights abuses for the hockey scores, for some the Olympics somehow became even more of a joke, a shame, and a crushing epicentre of misplaced nationalist furor.

Depends on how much you like hockey, that is.

Amidst the most recent uproar surrounding the masked collective, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is a good place to start for those curious about the group and the 2012 protest that got two members sent to labour camps for nearly two years.

Directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer details the punk rock performance art protests of the group, along with the subsequent incarceration of members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich for “disrupting the social order by an act of hooliganism”.

The film features some triumphant footage of the protests, but for the most part a lot of the reaction is dismal. Like the terrifying part where the all-male gang of Orthodox believers began talking about burning as punishment. Still, it’s an interesting insight into radicalism within Russian society.

For the most part, Lerner and Pozdorovkin focus on the trial of the three members of Pussy Riot, which, at times a surreal spectacle. There is something resembling a jubilant ending though when Samutsevich’s sentence is eventually overturned.

And while we don’t see it in the film, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were similarly granted amnesty – a sliver of good news amidst bleak times.

– Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer opens at the Broadway Theatre on Friday, Feb. 28. Click HERE for more details.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acMN8xUWqUQ&w=600]

– Featured photo from Flickr user “KoFahu meets the Mitropa” – Creative Commons.