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Pussy Riot Headline Film Festival

Human rights film festival May 32 returns to St. Pete, screening four documentaries for the first time in the city.

Published: May 1, 2014 (Issue # 1808)



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The human rights film festival, May 32, which will be held in the city next week, will feature five full-length documentaries, four of which have not yet been screened in St. Petersburg.

The festival will open with Putins Games, a documentary about the corruption surrounding the construction of the Olympic facilities in Sochi. Directed by Tel Aviv-based filmmaker Alexander Gentelev, the film took two years to research and film, and premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in November 2013.

Producer Simone Baumann said she was approached three times by Russians, who offered 600,000 euros for the film, apparently to prevent it from being released, while the International Olympic Committee reportedly declined to be interviewed and denied usage of its footage and even the word Olympics in the title.

The Winter Games in Sochi cost $50 billion contrary to the estimated $12 billion cited when Russia bid to host the event in 2007. Just one example of the scale of the corruption is the 45-kilometer road to the Olympic Village, which was so expensive that it might as well have been paved with gold or black caviar, opposition politician and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov said in the film.

The film also looks at the harm to the environment and human rights violations surrounding the Games.

Pussy Riot A Punk Prayer by British director Mike Lerner and Russian director Maxim Pozdorovkin, follows what was described as a show trial of three of the members from feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who were arrested soon after their attempted anti-Putin performance at Russias main church in Moscow.

Punk Prayer was the subtitle of the song and the video for Mother of God, Drive Putin Away, criticizing Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill for openly supporting Putin as the president during his controversial presidential campaign, which was marked by a ban on opposition leaders to run for election, as well as heavy television censorship and mass protests.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were arrested on Mar. 3, 2012, a day ahead of the presidential election, while the third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested two weeks later. To their surprise, they were charged with criminal misconduct motivated by religious hatred. A highly controversial trial followed, where the prosecutors referred to the church regulations set by the Council in Trullo held in 692 in Constantinople under Roman Emperor Justinian II, which resulted in two-year prison terms for the three in August 2012. Later, Samutsevich had her prison sentence suspended.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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