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Pussy Riot Documentary Makes Oscars Longlist

Published: December 5, 2013 (Issue # 1789)

  • The documentary by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin debuted at the 2013 Sundance film festival and is in the running for an Oscar.
    Photo: HBO Documentary Films

"Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," a film exploring the characters behind Russia's most talked about feminist art collective, has made the longlist for Best Documentary in the 2014 Academy Awards.

Fifteen of the 147 films originally considered are still in the running. The list will be narrowed down to five in January with the winning film to be announced at the awards show on March 2.

The documentary introduces viewers to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, the three women whose 40-second "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012 led to convictions of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and two-year prison colony sentences for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina.

The trial drew condemnation from the international human rights community but the band found little support in Russia, where only 6 percent of respondents said they sympathized with Pussy Riot in a September poll conducted by the Levada Center.

Directed and produced by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, the film employs footage of the trial and other Pussy Riot protests in addition to interviews with band members, the defense team and their families.

Other documentaries still in the running for the Oscar include the Danish genre-bender "The Act of Killing," Canadian actress-turned-director Sarah Polley's "The Stories We Tell" and "The Square," a tale of political activism in Egypt.


Times Talk


Sunday, Apr. 20

Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.

Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.

Monday, Apr. 21

Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.

Tuesday, Apr. 22

SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.

The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.