A feature length motion picture, directed by Usama Alshaibi, about a young Muslim Pro Domme in the midst of a spiritual crisis. It explores the idea of submission from a religious, psychological and sexual perspective. It is also a horror film about possession by
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Profane, directed by Usama Alshaibi, to be released on DVD June 19
Detailing the life of a young Muslim Pro Domme in the midst of a spiritual crisis.
"A deeply felt journey into psychosexual horror" -Time Out Boston
Best Film of the Year for 2011, Badlit.com
Best Experimental Film, Minneapolis Underground Film Festival
Best of Fest Feature, Boston Underground Film Festival
Best Director, Best Feature, Best Cinematography, Sexy International Film Festival
Profane is a feature length motion picture, directed by Usama Alshaibi, about a young Muslim Pro Domme in the midst of a spiritual crisis. It explores the idea of submission from a religious, psychological and sexual perspective. It is also a horror film about possession by
Jinn are the Islamic equivalent of demons. According to the Qur'an, Allah (God) created humans from clay, angels from light and jinn from smokeless fire. They are equally good and evil, and it is said that each of us has one of our own. Profane is an inverted exorcism. The main character, Muna, has lost her jinn and is trying to bring it back into herself in order to feel whole again. She also struggles to understand the culture and religion from which she has been alienated. In the meantime, she journeys through a maze of indulgence, excess, and altered reality to find that her true self has been whispering to her all along.
Through interviews, we find out that Muna has been alienated from her culture and abused within her religion. Her behavior as a teen became an embarrassment to her parents, prompting exorcisms while in the Middle East a several self-imposed exiles to the United States throughout her young life. Her audacious nature and promiscuous appetites lead her into sex work and exploring the more illicit pastimes of young Americans. Within her adopted environment she lost her sense of identity and even her language.
As we watch Muna's day-to-day life we are made privy to her sincere desire to return to Islam, through prayer and attempting to read the Qur'an. We experience the subsequent supernatural events - real or imagined - that take place as a result. We hear what Muna hears, though no one else in her world seems to believe or understand what's going on. They go on partying, paying little attent to her affliction, which is indistinguishable from drug-induced hallucination.
As an audience we follow Muna as she tries to reconcile her own very liberal sensibilities with a stricter more dogmatic moral code imposed by fellow Muslims.In one pivotal scene after having befriended a cab driver named Ali, hoffers to help her learn to read the Qur'an. He appears one morning at her hom flanked by a young Muslim Imam (religious leader). Muna and her best friend Mary have been up late frolicking in carnal and chemical exploration. The Ima disgust with she and her friend's lack of decorum angers Muna and triggers he rage at past prejudices and abuses.
She's not about to give up her identity for her religion. She just wants to be closer to God, and to know her own roots. This conflict is made manifest in the Jinn.
This troublesome invisible demon emerges from Muna as she struggles to reconcile two seemingly incompatible sides to her personality. Itis only by reintegrating with her personal mischievous spirit that she is able to feel whole once again.
"Though certainly not for the squeamish, the movie is a striking story of life in the Arab diaspora, aided rather than undermined by its occasional narrative incoherence." - Chicago Reader "This is one of the most heretical and daring visions of sexuality ever filmed, transgressive in a way comparable to how Last Tango in Paris was 40 years ago and Shortbus five years ago." - Lavender Magazine "Profane is an extraordinary visionary work from an accomplished filmmaker who is clearly now at the top of his game." - BadLit.com "Torn between ecstasy and submission, Muna takes an unorthodox path to enlightenment, one that Profane dramatizes with documentary methods and psychedelic imagery. Alshaibi demonstrates that true reverence sometimes requires transgression." - The Boston Phoenix
Usama Alshaibi - Director's Statement
Filmmaker Usama Alshaibi is known for two things: his award winning skill as a documentarian on one hand, and darkly sexy, sometimes disturbing experimental films on the other. His latest endeavor, Profane, tackles dangerous territory in the fictional realm. Combining his flair for the moody audio-visual explorations of his characteris inner worlds and the no-nonsense intimacy of the interview, he is able to makes sense of a young womanis spiritual emergency.
His exploration of the lesser-known aspects of Islam is irreverent and defiant of both tradition and stereotype. In one scene Muna observantly covers her head in the hijab, while leaving the rest of her body nearly naked. It begs the question, if God himself is the only one watching, and one is accustomed to being nude in front of strangers, then why couldn't a bra and panties constitute sincere modesty?
Profane is a never-before-seen collision of Middle Eastern mythology and western pop culture. It draws inspiration from horror films, psychedelic cinema, and documentation of real Islamic exorcisms.
The director is also influenced by events in his own childhood. After escaping the trauma of war in Iraq in the 5th grade, Alshaibi experienced life in Saudi Arabia. There he lived in fear as teachers beat him with rulers and rubber hoses for his inability to recite the Qur'an.
May 11, 2012, 7:02 am - PR