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Act & Punishment

by Evgeny Mitta
Russia 2015, 90′
Presented at Lo schermo dell’arte 2017
SCREENPLAY: Evgeny Mitta
CAMERA: Vladimir Kanareykin, Alexander Kuznetsov, Igor Malakhov
EDITING: Igor Malakhov, Sergey Ivanov

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Alyona (Belka) Gorlanova
DISTRIBUTION: Antipode Sales and Distribution
In 2011, two young activist artists, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, broke away from the Voina collective and founded the punk rock group Pussy Riot, whose purpose is to actively protest the social status of women in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. To do so, they stage their performances, a mix of actionism, art and politics, in public places that represent the power of institutions in Russia. During a performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the two activists were arrested, along with a third group member, Maria Alyokhina. They were accused of vandalism motivated by religious hatred. On August 17, 2012, they were tried and sentenced to two years in jail. This became a hot topic worldwide, as was the video, uploaded on Youtube, of their performance in the cathedral, which only lasted forty seconds before it was stopped, with an overblown reaction, by authorities. The Pussy Riot became a symbol of the struggle for freedom of speech and free expression, continuing the long Russian tradition of political dissidents called holy fools: figures who weren’t afraid to tell the most unpleasant truths and publicly accuse the tsar of his misdeeds.
Evgeny Mitta, born in Moscow in 1963: artist, director and gallerist. From 1988 to 1992 he was co-founder of First Gallery. He has been a member of the Moscow Artists Association since 1994. He has participated in many international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale in 1990. He has made scenographies for the theater. In 2005, he founded the Paperworks Gallery; in 2007, he began to direct the documentary series, Anthology of Contemporary Art.