Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (HBO Documentaries, 2013) offers a window into the intersections of music, religion, and politics in the context of Vladimir Putin’s Russia:
On Feb. 21, 2012, members of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot, donning their colorful trademark balaclavas, or ski masks, participated in a 40-second “punk prayer protest” on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral before being detained. Arrested and tried for trespassing, wearing “inappropriate” sleeveless dresses and disrupting social order, Nadia, Masha and Katia were accused of religious hatred in a trial that reverberated around the world and transformed the face of Russian society.
The film ends with two of the three band members still in prison, their unwavering ethical statements expressed in court haunting viewers along with the sometimes shocking and always confrontational performance art detailed in the backgrounds of these young women.
As I have written before, the expression…
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