ACT & PUNISHMENT: THE PUSSY RIOT TRIALS
March 21 only
“Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to put on a ski mask and challenge authority.”
– Dan Lybarger, Film Threat
This extraordinary documentary, Act & Punishment, explores the inception, rise, incarceration, liberation, and legacy of Pussy Riot, a Russian all-female punk rock band. The film covers the early days of the group, when actionist artists Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich separated from the well-known actionist group Voina to create their own band, singing songs of female empowerment and criticisms of the patriarchy and abuse of authority. Becoming a public spectacle, Pussy Riot would perform in neutral public places such as subway stations or cafés as a protest tactic. When Maria Alyokhina joined the group, their voice reached the masses. As Pussy Riot turned more political, they searingly criticized Vladimir Putin, even conducting a punk church service in the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior titled “Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”
After being accused of hooliganism with the motive of religious hatred against Orthodox Christianity, the court finds them guilty and sentences the artists and activists to two years in prison after they bravely refused to repent. Thus began their status as a worldwide phenomenon and support for the group, with chanting of “Liberty to Pussy Riot!” all over the globe. Eventually, upon their release, the band would perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where they were infamously attacked by a group of Cossacks hired as security guards. Act & Punishment is a prime example of the importance of standing up to authoritarianism and how sometimes it’s necessary for history to repeat itself; in Pussy Riot’s case, they emulated the tradition of the Russian yurodivy, or “holy fool,” which is one who strives “with imaginary insanity to reveal the insanity of the world,” originating in the fourth century.
“Deeply informed documentary that puts Pussy Riot into the context of the Russian avant-garde that is rooted in ‘Actionism.'”
– Louis Proyect, Counterpunch.org
Act & Punishment screens a week before Pussy Riot will perform two sold out shows on March 28th at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco!
2018. Russia. 90 min. A Cleopatra Entertainment release. In Russian with English subtitles. HD Digital.
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR MEMBERS