Are you going to wear a mask or your face? Whenever Jade is standing in front of a mirror, this isn’t a metaphorical question—she really has to make such a choice. Sacha Polak’s poignant, sensual film, reminiscent of Lynne Ramsey’s early work, features a wonderful performance by first-time actress Vicky Knight in the role of Jade, a woman struggling with extensive scarring on her face, hands and chest. The camera brings audiences face-to-face with this strong, independent woman. The protagonist is a simple girl from South London whose own child is unable to recognize her after she is the victim of an acid attack. The feeling of being a stranger among her own family and the pleasure she gets whenever she loses herself in a party-induced trance lead Jade to betray a friend and force her to work in front of an erotic webcam and at a call center to earn money for plastic surgery. The best sequences in the film—in a tunnel of fear, at a car washes, during a dance in a burka—are like music videos. For those who still don’t believe that music videos are no longer an insult to film, this one features MC Shystie playing dancehall, drum'n'bass and moody electronics.
Sacha Polak is a Dutch director whose film Hemel, about a promiscuous young girl, was shown at the Berlinale and won a critics’ award at the Venice Festival. Her second feature film, Zurich, about a woman who discovers that her late husband, a truck driver, was leading a double life, won a CICAE award in Berlin. Dirty God was the first Dutch production to compete in the main competition at the Sundance Festival and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. This is also Polak’s first film in English.
2008 Drang (short)
2012 Broer (short)
2013 New Boobs (doc.)
2019 Dirty God