Drawing on experiences from her life and early career Joanna Hogg delivers a refined, elegant and cathartic coming-of-age film, which feels as personal as political. An amalgamation of powerful memories of incidents, behaviours, emotions and old traumas retrieved just before they start to fade away, the film is an elegiac testament to the protagonist’s self-identification in relation to the socio-political context she grew up in and her decision to assert her re-claimed personality.
Set in the French port city of Marseille, immigrants wait in the hope of acquiring the correct paperwork in order to migrate to a country they see as a safe haven, in this case, Mexico. Seemingly stuck in this self-imposed island territory relationships are formed, dissipated, naturally- or by interfering locals in hoc with the police- or serendipity. In the meantime those who can survive, survive, while awaiting their fate.
A new norm was validated for German Cinema upon completion of the first decade of the new millennium, in 2010. An Oscar nomination at least, for foreign-language-film was to be expected on an annual basis, alongside multiple victories in international A-list film festivals, critical acclaim by media and potential analysis in prestigious academic journals. A stark contrast to the previous era of more esoteric films produced in the country, the works created between 2000-2010, didn’t just influence German film and culture but also informed artistic, multi-disciplinary and scholarly discourse, internationally.
There's a scene in Dirty God when the protagonist, 23 year old single mum, Jade, on a break while working at a call centre, tells a work colleague that her baby daughter, upon seeing her disfigured face began calling her, "Monster... monster..." to which the child's grandmother added, “But she's a nice monster”. This is the foundation of this well-crafted film by Sacha Polak.