Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

This edition is brought to you by Sahara Shresth, who can be found on twitter over at @sanssequel.



The 'Pussy Riot' Edition:

Pussy Riot is an anti-Kremlin feminist group that formed after the re-election of Putin in Russia. They adorn themselves in dresses and colourful masks (both to hide their identity for safety and to communicate their friendly intentions), and protest the "extreme nationalism" that Putin promotes with the running of an authoritarian regime.

The women don't comply with how citizens are stripped of basic rights to influence their country's fate and their means of protest are peaceful art and music performances that gained popularity in their country after members sang in the Red Square. In February 2012, however, when members Nadia, Masha and Katia sang an anti-Putin song in a cathedral in Moscow, they were arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison.

After much trial and hearings, Katia was released while Masha and Nadia are still serving the rest of their two-year sentence. The release of Katia was possible because the opposition's argument was that the girls were committing an act of hooliganism and using their performances to spark actions against the Orthodox Church of Russia through their lyrics. With the help of video taken during the performance, Katia's lawyer was able to prove that she wasn't singing any of the words in the song and had merely begun to take her guitar out of her case when police arrived.

"God Shit" is one of the phrases that the court takes from the song to use it against the band but at court, Katia explains that "God Shit" refers not to the Christ of their church but to the relation between the church and the state, a relation, which the women believe shouldn't exist. And the very reason they picked the cathedral as a venue was the union of the church and the state.

The documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is mostly made up of interviews with the band members and their parents, and footage from the court hearings as well as from their childhood and other Pussy Riot performances and meetings.

Besides serving as an insightful look into the women's beliefs and explanations, it brings to attention how Putin and those in favour of imprisoning the artists are afraid to even utter the group's name while making a big fuss about what it translates to. In an interview, Putin retaliates: "But what does Pussy mean?" which is quite silly. It means vagina and it represents women and/or their feminism. The patriarchs go ahead and add a third word to its translation saying pussy means "deranged vagina." They even go as far as demonizing them, and proclaim that the sentencing is a favour compared to how things would have been handled in the 16th century. Well, we've come a long way from that, haven't we.

Nadia is unafraid and outspoken to state what she believes is correct. When she's being interviewed, most likely after the first arrest, the interviewer mispronounces "Pussy Riot" as "Pussy Ravt" - to which Nadia responds with a smile and asks that he not be afraid of the word like the rest of the government. She is asked what the meaning of all this is, and her answer is that it is an "uprising of the oppressed masses, people who don't agree with the politics of the current regime."

She doesn't see anything wrong in what the artists did by singing at the altar and argues that if patriarchs are allowed to stand there, women should be allowed to do the same. In fact, what got the women into trouble is not their act but the phase in Russian history where soviets tried to eradicate religion, and the fact that punk and performance art is not so much a part of the same history.


Remember to check out the 'Related Posts' section below to view previous editions of '24 Frames'.