Storyville: Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer

Mon Oct 21, 10-11.30pm, BBC4

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5


Most counter-cultural rebels have the luxury of posturing. But some have no option but to put themselves well and truly on the line. We don’t suppose that Pussy Riot seriously thought they’d be banished to labour camps as a result of their 2012 performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. But equally, at no stage could they rule it out and their courage and vision in the face of the oppressiveness of Putin’s Russia is all the more remarkable and inspiring for that fact.

The actual quality of Pussy Riot’s art has always been beside the point. As this documentary shows, what matters is the gesture, the statement and the force of the will behind it. And the blowback has been disproportionate and terrifying enough to act, in itself, as a decent validation of their motives. As the film progresses, the trio drift through the moral black hole of the Russian legal system, heading inexorably towards their fate. And yet somehow, they remain composed, articulate and entirely convincing.

A remarkable story with many chapters still to be written, a blueprint for resistance and a reminder to all artists who aim for wider resonance – sometimes, to make your point, you have to go too far.


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