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Pussy Riot- - A Punk Prayer

Pussy Riot- - A Punk Prayer (2013)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 365

My Rating

Movie Info

Filmed over the course of 6 months, this documentary tells the incredible story of 3 young women: Nadia, Masha and Katia. But who is really on trial in a case that has gripped the nation and the world beyond - young artists or the society they live in? (c) Official FB

Feb 11, 2014

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (6)

If you're still getting up to speed on how these Russian balaclava-clad feminists became an international cause célèbre, filmmakers Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin offer an entertaining primer ...

February 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It's] captivating and profoundly dismaying. If nothing else, you'll run crying with relief into the arms of the U.S. Constitution.

June 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This doc is an answer only to the band's prayers for never-ending publicity.

June 10, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The filmmakers... add a crucial humanizing element, by focusing on the women's conflicted but supportive parents

June 10, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The women of Pussy Riot have an idea of what the new Russia should sound like; Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer shows just how hard it is to make that new world audible.

June 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even if you may not be putting a Pussy Riot song on your next playlist, there is something so of-the-moment and exciting about the group that "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer" feels important, if not fully complete.

May 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you think you know about this feminist punk group from the media coverage of their trial, and Madonna's flashes of solidarity, that's not the half of it.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Maclean's Magazine
Maclean's Magazine

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is a solid but unfortunately slight look at some of culture's most fascinating provocateurs.

February 19, 2014 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

A Punk Prayer provides a useful bit of backstory, including the liberal, post-Soviet upbringing of jailed Rioters Nadia, Masha and Katia.

February 13, 2014 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

This feels like a ride-along for a moment in history more than any formal analysis, which is the right way to approach a story that continues to evolve, and shows no signs of drawing to any satisfying close.

February 13, 2014 Full Review Source:

Sharply highlight[s] the dilemma post-Soviet Russia faces today regarding tolerance of views that go against the orthodoxy. By the end you really do feel like calling Russia and saying "come on, grow up."

October 18, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

The absorbing day-by-day of the Pussy Riot trial, and an intimate meeting with three Pussy Riot women unmasked.

September 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Arts Fuse
Arts Fuse

Getting at the depth of these issues whilst keeping the film engaging is not an easy task, but it's impressively managed here.

August 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Reveals little more than the order of events, which have already been succinctly detailed in forms that take considerably less than 86 minutes to process.

July 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Ultra Culture
Ultra Culture

Smart and modulated, with attention given to the broader cultural background, and a platform offered to the rioters' detractors.

July 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Documentaries, like thrillers, need charismatic leads. And a twist. This smart British project delivers on both fronts.

July 5, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A missed opportunity to use an isolated event to explore wider issues.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

[A] riveting documentary ...

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Naive they may be, but they have courage - certainly compared to the swaggering, hatchet-faced male bullies ranged against them.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

A thoroughly engaging and enlightening documentary, which gets up-close-and-personal with the three female Pussy Riot members that were sent to jail for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

While sympathetic to their plight, the directors prove alert to the story's wider impact, speaking to proud parents and outraged opponents alike.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Not the most talented rockers, but certainly the most courageous.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman

There's nothing probing or problematic about the film itself.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: New Statesman
New Statesman

The film benefits greatly from the young feminists' understanding of political theater.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

Interesting throughout, and marked by a certain grungy-chic quality, but also seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, insofar as its lack of expansion to story's international component.

June 21, 2013 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Pussy Riot- - A Punk Prayer

Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer should be celebrated for its unbiased and well balanced approach. The documentary makers Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin come at the story from the Pussy Riot side but shows all who watch what they're really all about. Pussy Riot are essentially a performance art band with a protest agenda. That's really all they are. The punishment they received was far to harsh for what they did and their imprisonment makes a mockery of the political and judicial system. I think they pushed their luck though with the Church. Their naivety is as obvious as their passion but they've made everyone look now, and so they have to see it through and perform from their cells. And performing is something that comes natural to both Mariya Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova - perticullarly Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, anyone who disagrees should google Operation Kiss Garbage and Voina - in particular F**k for the heir Puppy Bear! If you want to see some brains behind the passion then you should look at Ekaterina Samutsevich. She's the only one clever enough to have got herself out of prison, realising that rotting in prison won't get the job done. Their argument is valid and their protest is colourful and passionate but for their sake, I hope they recruit some more intelligent people like Ekaterina, maybe then they can really have an impact rather than be flavour of the month in the tabloids.
October 25, 2013

Super Reviewer

What the documentary "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer" does extremely well is going beyond just the facts of the case of three of its members, Maria Alyokhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich & Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, of the title punk band who were jailed in Moscow on charges of hooliganism after a protest song in a Moscow cathedral.(Nadezhda's father is an early front runner for the coolest dad of the 21st century.) That starts with there being not only more people involved in that fateful protest than just those three, but in others in and around Moscow, which also includes the ever popular of kissing of police officers, all the while wearing colorful balaclavas, in response to Vladimir's reelection/stranglehold on power. After which, they returned to their secret headquarters to plot more hijinx.

To its credit, "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer" also captures the anger from the other side of the Russian Orthodox Church which also manages to hang itself with sexism from about the 13th century in its referencing witches and demons that goes beyond just having a problem with the band's name.(Admittedly, though, if you are going to exile them to an island, then Manhattan's really not a bad place.) All of which is in a modern day Russia which only creates disorder by keeping order by force(as one band member put it, the state lost by winning and bringing so much international attention to the case) and that really has to find a better way to balance religion and state for once which was the whole point of the protests in the first place.

On another note, I am definitely warming up to Pope Francis the Cool.
January 8, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


This movie which debuted at Sundance Film Festival, chronicles the rise of the Russian feminist punk-rock collective, their outspoken defiance of Putin, and shocking imprisonment. Filmmakers Lerner and Pozdorovkin started shooting in March, just prior to the trial, and finished on 10th October, leaving them only two months to edit the film in time for the 2013 Festival. Since Pussy Riot was steeped in performance art, there was a wealth of self-shot footage available-including their cathedral tune-up session. The best news was that the Russian government decided to film the trial with as many as five cameras, which proved a godsend for the filmmakers. But what really attracted them to the curious case of Pussy Riot was that this is not only a film about Russia - it can easily become a documentary about all of us. It deals with the allowable limits of free expression, and similar issues can be found in US as well as in China... or any other country in the world. Because pushing the boundaries of allowable dissent could be fun... until you cross that boundary... after that everyone gets a very severe reaction!

Very controversial and radical approach to a wake-up call! The director Lerner stated: "They are the beginning of a new feminist revolution in Russia, and one really hopes that they inspire others around the world to take those ideas and say, 'Why the fuck not? The time has come.'" Food for thought!
July 6, 2013
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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  • Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (UK)
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