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Sundance 2013: What does the future hold for Pussy Riot? [Video]

January 23, 2013|By Steven Zeitchik

PARK CITY, Utah -- Few international groups have caught on like Pussy Riot. The radical feminist punk act from Russia ignited a global movement when members were arrested last year for alleged “hooliganism” in connection with their spirited performances.

In an interview with The Times, the directors of a movie about the group titled “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer,” break down what it is that they think has helped the collective catch on.

“It’s surprising. They’re not the sort of people who feature on the cover of Time magazine very often,” deadpanned co-director Mike Lerner. “We’re constantly trying to work out what it is. [I think it’s that] the image is so striking and the seeming injustice so glaring you don’t have to really understand too much about it to dig it.”

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In the interview, which you can watch in the accompanying video, Lerner and co-director Maxim Pozdorovkin describe their journey making the film. They’ve followed the group from a well-publicized trial to the jailing of three members (two of them, Nadya and Masha, remain in prison, while a third, Katya, is out on probation).

“As you’re going along you just don’t know what kind of footage you’re going to get so it’s hard to plan on the film,” Pozdorovkin said, understatedly. But he said he and Lerner were compelled by the idea that the group had brought punk rock and performance art to Russia, neither of which had ever had much of a presence in the country.

But for all of the band's popularity in the West, Lerner also said that the group may not be exactly what celebrities and other supporters think it is.

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“They’ve designed an image and idea that’s very simple to grasp even if people don't understand what it quite means, because if they did — I don’t think Madonna and all these people are quite as radical in their thinking as these women,” he said. “They’re not liberals; they’re Marxist feminist revolutionaries. That’s putting it mildly."

As for what the future holds for the group, Pozdorovkin quips that “Masha might become president and Nadya will turn down many modeling contracts,” alluding to their political popularity and looks, respectively.

Lerner added: "They’re certainly not about to retire. Hopefully they’ll be out sooner than later, but in any event, by this summer they will be in freedom. So watch that space.”

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Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

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