Thought you knew all about punk? Think again. This film not only unearths a new punk subculture, but teaches us a lot about how and why we use rebellion.
Bobby Naderi is excellent as Yusef, a naïve and likeable young man who enters the house of outsiders and Noureen DeWulf’s riot grrl portrayal of Rabeya is seasoned with just the right amount of anger and protest.
Such brilliant casting is supported by a focus on how clothing comes to represent our identities. There is a brilliant moment where the house-mates throw down their varied shoes outside the mosque, balancing two subcultures most would assume are incompatible. Similarly, Rabeya’s burka, embellished with patches and a button badge bearing the word ‘dyke’, allows numerous associations to violently collide, revealing the wearer as a woman who is refreshingly more than capable of expressing herself.
Unfortunately, this movie’s biggest shortcoming is its unfulfilled ambition. Unlike the throwaway calls for ‘ANARCHY’ that punk has become defined by, many lines in The Taqwacores are delivered with an expectant weight. Aware that its content is thought-provoking and controversial, the film’s success seems to rely on us bringing our own analysis to excavate deeper meanings from its shallow portrayals.
Yes, this gritty, low-budget insight into the subculture of Punk Islam is bound to have a few critics, but I’m sure it will have a middle finger or two to answer that with.
Best line: I’m too wrapped up in my mismatching of disenfranchised culture.
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