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Six dirty picks from the London Film Festival

Tickets for the largest film festival in the country go on sale today, so we decided to pick the top six dirtiest movies, which you should not miss - hurry up!

There are so many films to pick from that it’s difficult to decide where to begin. In total, there are 242 feature films from both established and emerging directors from every corner of the planet. This year, the festival, which takes place from October 4th to the 15th will host 28 world premieres, nine international premieres and 34 European premieres, plus a top-drawer line-up of cast and supporting events. The feature programme includes 46 documentaries, six animations, 14 archive restorations and 16 artists’ moving image features.

Click on the film titles in order to accede to our exclusive reviews (of the film that we have already seen). Of course this is only the tip of tip of the iceberg, and our live coverage will bring plenty of dirty gems firsthand to you. And you can click here in order to buy your tickets right now!

1. Amant Double (François Ozon):

This is absolutely unmissable. Our editor Victor Fraga saw this earlier this year in Cannes and was left ecstatic. The film on psych-sexual thriller on a par with his own masterpiece Swimming Pool (2003).

Amand Double is an incredibly arresting, sexy and funny study of love, sexuality and emotional breakdown. Chloé (Marine Vatch) begins an affair with her psychologist Paul (Jérémier Renier), after she has recovered from anxiety and some apparently psychosomatic stomach pains. Paul is strong and confident, while Chloé is frail and insecure. Her looks and vulnerability, plus some of the sex scenes, reminded me a lot of Mia Farrow of Polanski 1968 classic Rosemary’s Baby – minus the blond hair. Like Rosemary, she begins to suspect that her husband is concealing something from her and – despite her insecurities – she begins to investigate his life. She soon discovers that he changed his surname, but that’s just the beginning.

2. A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lello):

This Chilean film – produced by one of our very favourite and dirty directors Pablo Larraín (who made Jackie, The Club and Neruda in the past two years) – was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. It was selected as the Chilean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. We haven’t seen it yet but we have every reason to believe it’s going to be very dirty.

When her lover Orlando dies suddenly one night, Marina (Daniela Vega) is left in a state of shock. But nothing can prepare her for what follows. Still raw with grief, the singer and waitress must navigate the horrors of recounting the night to Orlando’s family, whose responses to the fact that she’s a transwoman range from frosty to scabrous and even hostile. It seems love and cohabitation count for little and Marina must fight for her rights, her home and even custody of her dog, while the police only offer a new set of humiliations.

3. Call me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino):

Our dirty girl caught this one earlier this year across the pond, at Sundance. This modern take on Death in Venice is an emotional, rapturous and sensual queer love story taking place in northern Italy, and it will rapture your heart immediately, whether you are gay or not!

In the summer of 1983 in northern Italy, Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old boy, is about to receive a guest in his aristocratic house. He is lending his bed to Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old American scholar who has some work to do with Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), a professor specialising in Greco-Roman culture. Elio and Oliver will share the same toilet as well as a desire for each other.

Just like in Visconti’s masterpiece, the story begins when a foreigner comes to the Italian territory. In Call me By Your Name, though, it is the young guy who invests in the more mature gay professor. A very modern and dirty twist on a unforgettable classic.

4. The Florida Project (Sean Baker):

This is another one that we haven’t seen but it’s on our agenda. The pressure is on. Sean Baker authored one the dirtiest and most innovative film created in the past few years, on an iPhone and a shoestring budget: the hilarious and profoundly moving tranny Christmas tale Tangerine.

Six-year-old Moonee (the astonishingly good Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) lives with her mother and other castaways from the American dream in a candy-floss-coloured roadside motel in Orlando. Disney World is just up the road, but their budget dayglow home is no plush hotel resort. Halley, Moonee’s mother, is only just an adult herself. More of an incorrigible older sister than a parent, she gets a kick out of juvenile hijinks, with utter disregard for their consequences.

According to LFF: “the genius of Baker’s film is how it runs along two parallel tracks. Narrated from a child’s-eye view, this is a marvellous world of play and possibility. But adult viewers witnessing Halley’s life will suspect what’s coming for Moonee. That this dazzling, precocious girl is a lightning rod of wayward charm makes the inevitable so much harder to bear. The Florida Project is an ingenious, instant classic about childhood innocence.”

5. Have a Nice Day (Liu Jian):

This was our editor’s favourite in the Competition of the Berlinale earlier this year. Dilapidated buildings, cracked walls, chipped doors, neglected railway tracks, shabby cars, mangy dogs, plenty of rain and blood: this is more or less the filthy image of China that will you see in this highly imaginative animation and black comedy from the People’s Republic.

The movie looks almost like a rotoscope animation due to the realism of faces of places, but a few dissonant elements effectively cater for the more ingenious and resourceful side of the endeavour. There’s a thin line of smoke coming up undisturbed from a cigarette, there are paintings with a very different texture and there’s a very plush allegorical montage blending dreams with symbols of pop culture (from which the image above was taken). And there’s cheesy Chinese music to top it all up, sometimes coming from bad quality speakers, as if you were in a student’s room.

6. Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro):

Our correspondent Tiago Di Mauro picked the Mexican director’s latest flick last month live from Venice, and the movie also happened to snatch the Golden Lion for best film. It all starts out as your standard blockbuster, but suddenly the dirty elements come in: there’s plenty of nudity, female masturbation, sex with a monster and a very wet and messy orgasm. Nothing is toned down or hidden, like you would expect from your average Hollywood flick. It’s like watching a Disney film in which Lilo shags Stitch. You will eventually get hooked and excited about The Shape of Water. Or maybe even aroused.

The mute protagonist Elisa is played by superb Sally Hawkins, and she might get an Oscar nomination for this role. During the Cold War era Elisa is trapped in a life of silence and isolation with many other people. One day she discovers a classified secret experiment in the high-security laboratory where she works: an aquatic monster from the Amazon, fully alive. In a way, this is a subtle denunciation of Operation Condor and US meddling in Latin America during the Cold War.

By DMovies' team - 14-09-2017

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