Harri Shanahan, Sian A. Williams
British Film Institute, Bohemia Media
I'm not quite convinced that Rebel Dykes will be embraced by Indiana's decidedly non-punk majority, but this ass-kickin' good time of a motion picture is easily one of the 2022 Indy Film Fest's cinematic crown jewels. During a year when the fest has managed to snag quite a few truly stellar feature docs, Rebel Dykes is the rabble-rousing work of wonder that may not be completely loved but it sure won't be forgotten.
Quite simply, Rebel Dykes is one of my absolute faves of this year's festival. It's a tapestry of animation, archival footage, and interviews largely centered around a tight-knight group of friends who met at Greenham Common Peace Camp and who went on to become artists, musicians, performers, and activists in London. This is a film that practically smothered me with its vibe early on and never let me go as it slams around the BDSM clubs, anti-Thatcher rallies, and AIDS protest rallies. While it might seem like Rebel Dykes is filled with nothing but rage, there's a communal vibe that radiates throughout the film and a whole lot of love sweet love.
Now that's punk.
Co-directed by Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams, Rebel Dykes is just about everything you could want a documentary set in 1980s post-punk London to be. This is the era when punk met feminism and a gang of lesbians lit up London.
They changed the world and Rebel Dykes masterfully captures it all.
Rebel Dykes captures queer history at its finest, simultaneously hilarious and passionate, driven and completely relentless. The timid need not apply here - Rebel Dykes is sex-positive and there's no closet to be found anywhere here. There isn't a moment of Rebel Dykes that I didn't enjoy and even as the closing credits where rolling I found myself wanting to watch it all over again.
Fast-paced and unforgettable, Rebel Dykes is one of the highlights of the 2022 Indy Film Fest in Indianapolis.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic