“We were very politically aware, but we were also very naughty!” What better summation of the sexy, gritty, raw-and-rollicking experience of the London late-1980s dyke community, lovingly depicted in Harri Shanahan and Siân Williams’ new documentary REBEL DYKES. From Peace Camps, to the lesbian S&M club Chain Reaction, to the passing of Clause 28, REBEL DYKES cleverly mixes vintage footage, interviews, and animated recreations to illustrate an explosive time of sex, culture, and politics.
Centered on a multi-racial community of working-class dykes united through squats, underground bars, art, and a lot of sex, REBEL DYKES is by turns gratifying and challenging. A celebration of family formed from ostracization, this documentary will make even those who weren’t out in the ’80s nostalgic for the sharp edges of unapologetic self-determination. While honoring the bonds of community, REBEL DYKES doesn’t gloss over battles to define who was (or wasn’t) a lesbian, a feminist, and the “right” kind of each… battles that continue today, making the film not only delightfully engaging, but strikingly relevant in 2021.
— Sophia Lanza-Weil