image+nation culture queer


Harri Shanahan & Siân A. Williams | UNITED KINGDOM | 2021 | 82 min | ENGLISH

“We weren’t lesbians, we were dykes.” This defiant statement represents just one of a whole myriad of empowering sneers as we’re dropped into the epicenter of the struggles, misunderstandings, and dialogues between punk and mainstream modes of feminism and queer identity during London’s conservative Thatcher 80s.

That, and a whole lot of guitar and good times.Told through a kinetic, Pop Art aesthetic with VHS sensibilities, including animation courtesy of co-director Harri Shanahan, Rebel Dykes is packed with fascinating, “so far unsaid” stories set to a driving soundtrack. There’s baby oil wrestling and Black Widows in crash helmets, vegan whips and Ian McKellen with a dental dam. There’s readymade community and first sex at an anti-nuclear protest, acid on Xmas, and Chain Reactions’ fusion of art and S&M. And there’s heated but open discussion about what it means to be a queer woman and how best to coalesce a minority group in the face of a government hell-bent on tearing it apart. This is riveting, no-holds-barred filmmaking that stares shame in the face and tells it where to go.