A young Muslim Dominatrix in the midst of a spiritual crisis.
This is one of those movies that are incredibly hard to review. There are very, very few of those types of movies and Profane certainly fits the bill. For lack of a better comparison like a Citizen Kane type of film where there is a lot of things going on; a lot of symbolism and something far more above and beyond just making an entertaining movie. You can say it’s bad or good and point out why either way because you still have the actual work to critique even if you cannot critique the message or the heart behind it.
Profane is a dark and emotional thriller that starts to play with your head from the first frame. But it is not a thriller in the traditional sense of the word or the genre. The subject matter at times is very hard to swallow because it deals with very controversial subject matter from a position of faith rooted in Islamic and Muslim sentiments and traditions and really pushes its ideas on women in the culture and their voice and sexuality.
If these subjects don’t interest you or make you feel uncomfortable then I would not recommend this movie. It creates a guttural response that is hard to deny or leave behind once the end credits role. Profane is setup as though it is a documentary. It is difficult to determine if that is the actual intent or simply just a style choice as occasionally the producer asks questions of the main female character. Regardless of the intent it is an interesting and intriguing choice which gives the film a voice and allows you an all-access pass to the inner emotions of the people.
The lead character and her friends are drug addicts and there is quite a bit of graphic use of drugs. These women also work as dominatrices. There is a fair amount of graphic nudity and talk of sexual fetish behavior. If you watch long enough you will see some of this fetish behavior acted out and it can be… disturbing. In fact I think I am a bit scarred from it… no joke. Profane’s plot revolves around one woman’s struggle of faith and personal wants/needs. Her culture believes in Djinns who are powerful spirits that inhabit your brain and tell you to do bad things. They begin to speak to our lead who is a non-practicing Muslim and sex worker. This signifies the beginning of the end of her sanity. Her one saving grace is the random cabbie she meets on a drug-induced night and, unlike her, he is a devout Muslim.
You can tell there is a point to everything you’re being shown but it takes much too long to get to it. There is a lot of very artistic choices being made in this film and it would do well being shown as an art house piece. As the voices become more and more prevalent in her life she begins to change. Her faith begins to surface as the Djinn continue to whisper to her – real or imagined we never really find out but one thing is clear and that is she believes it. One scene that stands out is when the girls are hanging out. They are in the apartment of a client. He is bound and gagged and the girls are talking about the Koran. They are dressed as a cowgirl and Indian while tickling the bound man’s feet and smacking his penis with a horsewhip. Yea… I’ll let that sink in a bit because there are several scenes like that.
If you can stomach the subject matter I honestly say you should see “Profane”. It’s very visceral and often times powerful. It certainly is not your average horror film and, in fact, with the exception of the voices in her head, there is nothing that screams “horror” about it. The singular exception may be watching someone stand on a penis while wearing high heels. Profane is, without a doubt, a truly fascinating movie filled with excellent acting all around and an artistic direction that would make any art house want to show it. They don’t even dumb it down by giving subtitles for the lines spoken in Farci so hats off to the filmmakers. There is also a tremendous amount of female pit hair… I’m talking French braid length here. So let’s run down the key points of Profane…
Lots of pit hair
STRONG religious notes
Drugs and booze
Man raped by dildo
I may be scarred for life
Profane is a must see IF you can stomach it.