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July 11 2014

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At Landmark’s Sunshine, A Surprise Appearance from Pussy Riot

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Pussy Riot members Headlight and Puck at the screening of HBO's "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer"

“Women are a lot funnier than people realize,” said Maxim Pozdorovkin, one of the directors of HBO’s soon-to-be-released documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. He’s talking about one of the more unexpected takeaways from his new film, which screened courtesy of The Cinema Society last night at the Lower East Side’s Landmark Sunshine theater and tells the shocking, dark, and, yes, subversively comical story of feminist-punk-cum-conceptual-art group Pussy Riot’s February 2012 performances, arrests, and subsequent imprisonment in Russia.

The film drew in a full house, including Pat McGrath, Charlotte Ronson, Salman Rushdie, Girls’ Alex Karpovsky, and Patti Smith, who introduced the project with a compelling dedication (“There is not a time that I go onstage that I do not think about them or feel the freedom to speak out and say the things that upset or anger me about my own country that I don’t think about these girls”) before running off to the Bowery Ballroom to perform.

A Q&A following the screening dialed in Pussy Riot member Katia for her thoughts via Skype, and in a surprise, carefully anonymous appearance, two members of the group took the stage in Pussy Riot’s signature fluorescent balaclavas to tell the audience how they could take action now.

“I was extremely inspired,” said model Heidi Mount at the Pravda-hosted after-party. “I had heard of [Pussy Riot] because of Madonna’s representation of them, and have been following them for the past year, but to actually get to hear their statements, what they’ve been through, was really—I want to protest outside the Russian embassy now.” After a few sips of rye-tini, Mount added, “We take for granted, as women in America, that we can wear what we want and say what we want—especially in fashion—but the girls that I work with are coming from these places where they don’t have that opportunity. People need to hear this story.”

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer will premiere June 10 on HBO.

Photo: Nicholas Hunt /PatrickMcMullan.comĀ 

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Dept. of Culture