Bonnie & Bonnie
Romance, 1h 30m
Two girls who have to leave everything behind for their love to have a chance – just like their cinematic role models Bonnie and Clyde.
You’ll sit on the edge of your seat and even be biting your nails, so prepare to just enjoy the ride
This beautifully shot, gritty coming of age story explores first love and all its complexities, with a grim side-serving of cultural and societal pressures thrown into the mix, all crafted in a debut feature from director Ali Hakim. The film is set in modern-day Hamburg, Germany, where traditional conservative religion and modernity vie for top position. This is, essentially, Bonnie and Clyde – lesbian edition, and even if you didn’t root for Bonnie and Clyde, you will certainly be rooting for Bonnie and Bonnie. These two female kick-ass leads play their roles with so much authenticity that you have no choice but to idolise and empathise with them. You’ll sit on the edge of your seat and even be biting your nails, so prepare to just enjoy the ride.
The story begins in the urban town of Wilhelmsburg and focuses on Yara (Emma Drugunova) and her group of misfit rebel-rousing friends as they come of age in a small town. We are first introduced to Yara and Kiki (Sarah Mahita) when Yara and her group of friends play a prank on stranger Kiki. Here we witness the traditional meet cute, but Hakim treats us to one of gangster style proportions – with knives included.
However, it’s no less intense, romantic or affecting. The chemistry between Yara and Kiki is evident right from the start. But, so too, is the foreboding sense of oppressive disharmony as Yara emotionally battles between her traditional ultra conservative roots and her craving for the freedom to choose whom she loves for herself.
This is no sweet toothed fairy-tale story and male patriarchy is rife in Bonnie and Bonnie as both brother Bekim, played by Slavko Popadic and father Abaz (Kasem Hoxha), exert their male dominance over Yara with ruthless abandon. Its clear from the start that to be female in Yara’s motherless Albanian family dynamic is to be seen as a possession and something to be used and bartered with, despite Yara’s own feelings on the matter. The only one who appears to really see Yara for who she is is Kiki. And in a truly beautifully choreographed dance scene on the docks at sunset, Kiki sweetly asks Yara: ‘Will you dance for me?’ And dance Yara does. Set to the sultry tones of Andreas Bruhn’s song Walk Away, Yara, effortlessly enchanting Kiki, moves with so much raw sensuality and beauty that you can’t help but be enamoured too, and quite easily understand the look of absolute intense adoration that Kiki watches on with. The superb performances by the two talented leads are as raw and as grippingly beautiful as the backdrop of the urban landscape itself and the chemistry is palpable between the two.
Bonnie and Bonnie is a rebel rousing, strong female led thrill ride and when Kiki asks Yara: ‘Wanna go for a joyride?’ I couldn’t help but shout out ‘hell yes!’
This is an absolute must watch film for anyone who values courage and the freedom to choose who we love at all costs.
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To find out more about the cast, crew, genre and where you can get this film, check out the LesFlicks Film Database.
This review was written by:
Reviewer and Writer
Alex has worked as a film stills photographer, written stories for a museum promotion campaign and has had her work featured on the cover of an Australian based lesbian magazine. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing on film, writing and photography from Perth's Edith Cowan University.
She is currently working on a documentary project centred on lesbian refugee women’s experiences, combining her love of documentary film, photography and her current role as an occupational therapist. All in all, she is passionate about film, especially lesbian-made and themed films.