FLIX PIX (19): “All Hail PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER”

th

PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER

(directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Mike Lerner, 2013)

(****+ out of 5)

*

> I simply loved this awesome HBO documentary about this group of subversive underground Russian performance artists! It’s a powerful story- how a small cadre of young activists could stage a stunt that would garner the attention of the entire world, and cast a bright, healing light on the complicity between church and state in modern Russia and the near-dictatorial power of the dangerous ex-KGB chief Vladimir Putin.  Pussy Riot is a loose musical collective of women who are fed up with the overt sexism and authoritarian power in their country. Self-described “jokers, jesters, and holy fools”, they use high-energy punk music to shake up the complacency of the Russian public and bring attention to their agenda.

. No, the music is not very accomplished, and their message is undercut and muddied by their obvious naivety and confrontational intemperance.  These passionate people are just kids really, and can’t be expected to produce nuanced social criticism.  So much of their imagery is pseudo-violent that it works to create resistance against what would otherwise be a very potent message.  (This flaw is there even in the name of the collective. What is constructive about a riot?  That word does not invoke social justice, in invokes anarchy and mob rule. When pressed about this imagery, one member explained it’s all metaphorical- a symbol of mass uprising demanding immediate change.  But is the average person hip to this distinction?  I doubt it.  Ultimately, it is not enough to be against things, you need to be for things as well.

. But there is a place for this kind of outrage-based protest. Their fury is understandable and righteous and theirs is a voice that needs to be heard.  In February of 2012 Pussy Riot decided to take their message into the belly of the beast, attempting to stage an impromptu musical protest in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.  Wearing their trademark neon-colored balaclavas to conceal their identities, their explosive performance lasted less than one minute before being ruthlessly squelched by vigilant security forces.  Three of the collective were detained, arrested and charged with crimes against the state, in a heavy-handed cudgel of punishment that did not vaguely suit the “crime”.  In the wake of this action, Nadya, Masha and Katya faced a ludicrous media circus that was a silly farce from the get go.  It quickly becomes apparent that strongman Putin himself is behind their persecution and prosecution, and the whole thing quickly becomes a national embarrassment that reveals the Russian government for what it is: autocratic, intolerant, vindictive and non-democratic.  Watching them behind bulletproof glass in a Moscow courtroom is like watching a farce unfold- if only the consequences were not so potentially serious for the three women detained.

. Though I support this collective wholeheartedly, there was one thing that just stuck in my craw when I heard it.  In arguing that they never meant to offend anyone and had no idea that chanting obscenities again and again in a place people consider holy would offend anyone, they seriously undercut their own legitimacy.  In their minds, they were referring to the criminally complicit relationship between church and state.  Come on now ladies!  You put yourselves in this position.  Skip the bullshit: tell the truth.  It’s the truth in your message that makes Pussy Riot a potent messenger.  Please tell me that you are not actually that simpleminded as to be unable to foresee the consequences of such provocative actions.  Please don’t try to convince me that you had no way of knowing that screaming “It’s God’s shit!” in front of the altar of a highly venerated church might just be offensive to some!  We all know THAT’S WHY YOU DID IT.  It was a carefully chosen target, and if you didn’t know what you were doing, then you don’t belong in jail- you belong in an assisted-care facility, because you are clearly not able to think for yourself.  It’s ludicrous, an insult to everyone’s intelligence and simply makes you look insincere and ridiculous.

. Still, that being said: I LOVE PUSSY RIOT!! Please do what you can to bring pressure to release the two jailed victims of Russian state censorship.  Theirs is a complete travesty of justice.

http://freepussyriot.org/

.

© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

About KPKeelan

Fool, Philosopher, Lover & Dreamer, Benign TROUBLEMAKER, King and Jester of KPKworld, an online portal to visual and linguistic mystery, befuddlement and delight.
This entry was posted in Flix Pix and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to FLIX PIX (19): “All Hail PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER”

Love to hear your (constructive) thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s