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Muna (Manal Kara) lives, by almost any standards, a life of sin: She's
a dominatrix who loves to show her naked body and doesn't shy away even
from golden or brown shower games, she has once been a hooker basically
because she loves sex and money, and has only given up streetwalking
because she wanted to be in total control, and she is no stranger to
substance abuse - but Muna is also a Muslim, and she wants to be a good
Muslim, too. But she feels detached from her religion, so much so that she
thinks she hears voices. Ali (Dejan Mircea), a Muslim cabdriver she and
her friend, lover and co-dominatrix Mary (Molly Plunk) befriend when he
drives them home from work tells her it's the voice of her Jinn trying to
tell her something - and soon, Muna starts discussing everything that has
to do with her faith with Ali, who's a devout Muslim but on the liberal
side of the spectrum - so he chooses not to see the most obvious signs of
Muna's life of sin.
It's interesting then that it was actually Muna's
religion itself was what made her what she is, when back in her native
Jordan, she has been punished for some (by Western standards) harmless
teenage secual experiments, has been exorcised (a traumatic experience she
still hasn't gotten out of her head), and has actually prompted her to
move to the USA, to Chicago, where she has adapted to the Western
lifestyle and the liberties that come with it all too easily. And she has
taken the road of being a prostitute and later a dominatrix not because
she was forced, but because she thinks she was destined to.
Muna feels completely detached from her own culture, so much so that she
has difficulties even reading the Qur'an - so she asks Ali for assistance
... which Ali slightly misinterprets when a few days later, he shows up on
her doorstep with an Imam - which only leads to disaster, because Muna and
Mary are only half-dressed - Mary is tied up even from a sex game they
have been playing -, and the drugs and alcohol from last night clearly
have not worn off. Ali and the Imam storm off in a rage.
So, has Muna's
religion turned its back on her?
A very impressive film that
uses a mix of documentary-like scenes, provocative images, trip-like
sequences and very somber interviews to shatter prejudices and shed new
light on often-covered ground. And that works so well because the film is
entirely non-judgemental - Muna might be a woman who lives a life of sin
(not just by Islamic standards I might want to add), but she can also be a
very caring person who is looking for the meaning of life. And Ali might
be too caught up in the teachings of his religion, but he wants to help
Muna as a friend and not a missionary - sure, that backfires, but it was
an honest attempt.
And when you add to this approach a very moody
direction and slick storytelling that doesn't try to explain everything
away and allows you to come up with your own conclusions, you've got a
pretty good film.