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Profane

3.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(Jun 19, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Torn between ecstasy and submission, Muna takes an unorthodox path to enlightenment, one that Profane dramatizes with documentary methods and psychedelic imagery.""-The Boston Phoenix ""The heroine, a Jordanian immigrant, works contentedly as a dominatrix but wants to reconnect with her Muslim roots; scenes of her lurid career alternate with a sweet subplot in which she befriends a religiously devout Middle Eastern cabdriver. Though certainly not for the squeamish, the movie is a striking story of life in the Arab diaspora...""--Chicago Reader. DVD also contains 20 minutes of extra footage.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Usama Alshaibi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: ARTVAMP
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007PK9N0Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,727 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Profane" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Recalling the subtly political psychedelia of Kenneth Anger, Profane is a beautiful dream of one woman's nightmare. On the surface, this nightmare appears to be the overtaking of her very soul by a Djinn: a malevolent demon of Islamic lore. But, venturing deeper, the film explores her fears and frustrations with an environment that refuses to understand her - a classic nightmare scenario - and her choices of both religious and sexual expression. White Americans ensnared in post-911 paranoia target her for reasons of practicing what they view as a dangerous faith and, even less credibly, allying with an enemy power, while fellow Muslims are appalled by her decision to keep sacred the pleasures of debauchery in addition to the name of Muhammad. These complex issues of identity and community are meticulously dissected without ever upsetting the film's delicate visual balance of dizzying dreaminess and visceral horror. The most prominent strength of Profane, though, is its intelligent and sometimes sensitive handling of potentially pornographic material, which elevates its eroticism to a company the likes of Bataille, Reage, and Miller. Alshaibi shows here that no matter how many dildos and demons one may encounter throughout the course of a given work, with enough cognizance amid the carnality, it is still possible for true art to emerge.
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Why this movie was recommended to me by Amazon is a mystery. On the cover it has three palm prizes from Winneapolis underground, Boston underground and Sexy international film festivals. Filmed as a docudrama the piece follows a decadent, tacky couple of improvised S&M sexual workers, one of which happens to have been raised Muslim and toggles with the idea of being possessed by a Jin of depravity. The visuals follow a 1970s shoestring psychedelic aesthetic structured as a docudrama, both of which seem to be an easy way out for lack of resources, camera expertise and director/actor work. No, this is not at par with Bataille or Miller unless you only see in those authors some distasteful pornography barely veiled by a coat of pseudo-philosophy. Interesting to see that depravity can be placed in a Muslim environment? Perhaps. Interesting to see a veiled woman peg a heavily tattooed bodybuilder juxtaposed to bombing and gun fighting in Irak? Probably. To some it might even be cathartic. My two problems with it are first that I have no empathy or connection to any of the sexual, political or religious plot lines, and second that the aesthetics shock me only because they are ugly, and not because of any deeper network of meanings. I bought this on impulse, because it was recommended with a "now buy something for yourself." Amazon should have a policy of safe disposal of toxic material, in the same way electronics do. I would then return the disc to its underground state and be happy.
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Format: DVD
"Profane" is really an 'art film' with a capital 'A' - replete with psychedelic montages and a rapid-fire pseudo-documentary format - a fact that may lead some viewers to feel 'disappointed' by its' content and/or execution. The plot synopsis references elements such as the lead female character's 'work' as a professional dominatrix and the conflict that this presents to her Islamic background, and the DVD box cover art even depicts a naked woman lolling on a bed while the back cover is also full of images of nudity - making the film appear to be loaded with eroticism and sex. Indeed, the film IS loaded with sex and a fair amount of naked flesh but the 'tone' of the piece is decidedly 'thoughtful' rather that erotic and in this context the potentially erotic elements become more realistic and less titillating.

The film focuses on a pair of young women who work together in the sex trade - dominating masochistic men - and there are some interesting parallels drawn between the extreme male chauvinism prevalent in the middle eastern world and the reversal of the roles in the female domination play. One of the girls has an Islamic background that she is 'wrestling' with, while the other is bed-rock American and seems to have substance abuse issues, but no religious interests to speak of. A Muslim cab driver also figures prominently in the plot. He develops a relationship of sorts with the duo as he ferries the girls to and from their 'tricks' through wintry Chicago streets - they banter back and forth about religious issues & lifestyle choices, and he ultimately gets somewhat sucked into the girl's perverse realm. The documentary style of the film lends an air of 'reality' to everything and the actors all do a fine job of reinforcing the sense of credibility.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched it with my more conservative husband. It provoked conversations about youth, religion and sexuality. I'd love to see an expose such as this on the Catholics.;)
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