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Pussy Riot documentary debuts at Sundance

posted 23 Jan 2013, 07:34 by Mpelembe   [ updated 23 Jan 2013, 07:35 ]

A documentary chronicling the trial of three members of the feminist punk band "Pussy Riot" makes its debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

MOSCOWRUSSIA (FEBRUARY 21, 2012) (PUSSY RIOT GROUP) -   "Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer" made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival to a sold-out Park City crowd.

The documentary tells the story of of the three young women: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova,Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, who as members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, performed a 40-second "punk prayer" inside Russia's main cathedral.

Pussy Riot took on two powerful state institutions at once when they burst into Moscow's golden-domed Christ the Saviour Cathedral wearing bright ski masks, tights and colorful dresses to protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin's close ties with the Church.

This performance led to their arrest on charges of religious hatred and culminated in a trial that has reverberated around the world.

After a trial that was shown live on television, a judge ruled the three women had "committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society."

The court found all three women guilty and sentenced them to two years in prison.Yekaterina Samutsevich later had her punishment converted to a suspended sentence.

"It was such a big soap opera in Russia," said co-director Maxim Pozdorovkin. "We wish we could say there was more oppression, they've been very cooperative and I don't think that it is, because in Russia there is a national sort of sense that a lot of people believe that the girls got more or less what they deserved."

The case became one of Russia's most high-profile trials since the Soviet Unioncollapsed in 1991 and ignited comments from Madonna, Sting and Paul McCartney.

"One of the things we felt is that, whereas in the West it was understood to be mostly a political human rights story and in Russia it was understood almost exclusively as a religious hooliganism, religious hatred story," said co-director Maxim Pozdorovkin. "In reality the story is so much bigger and so much richer and so epic, and I don't use that word lightly, that we wanted to make, while people still have this awareness of the story, we wanted to make a thought provoking film about it."

"Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer" follows the band members and their families as they struggle through the legal system in Russia. Both Lerner and Pozdorvkin felt that making a film about the three women was more about telling their stories and explaining the motivation behind their actions.

The U.S. television rights were purchased by HBO during the festival.


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