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The top 10 dirtiest films of 2017

A Syrian mother, a Brazilian clown, an Israeli soldier, a French shrink, a German psycho, a courgette and many more - check out the characters and their twisted predicament in the top 10 most daring, innovative, subversive and downright filthy movies of the year, as picked by our contributors and readers!

Another year has gone by, and DMovies is now nearly two years old. We were launched in February 2016, which makes 2017 our first year fully operational (from January to December). In the past 12 months, we have published more than 200 reviews, 40 articles and held eight screenings of our favourite dirty movies across London. Plus, we have attended the three major film festivals in Europe: Cannes, Berlin and Venice, plus Sundance and Tribeca across the pond. To boot, we have partnered with ArteKino and with The Film Agency/ Under the Milky Way in order to promote the best films on VoD in the UK, Europe and beyond.

This means that we have been extremely busy unearthing the dirtiest gems of cinema being made in all corners of the planet. It was extremely difficult to selected the dirtiest films from such an extensive pool, so we asked our top six contributors to cherry-pick their dirty favourites of the year. Each contributor picked one. That’s six films. The other four films were selected by our readers – they are the most read reviews between January and now.

These 10 films are from countries as diverse as Syria, Brazil, France, Israel, Italy and Germany/Australia. Sadly no British film made it to the list this year. These movies with deal complex and profound topics such as war (Foxtrot and Insyriated are very anti-war), sexuality (the twisted The Double Lover and the LGBT romance Call me by Your Name), misogyny (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story), but also more lighthearted, puerile issues (The Florida Project and My Life as a Courgette). What all of these films have in common is that they will hit you like a ton of bricks, and cause you to reflect about your own life!

Check out the full list below, which is sorted in no specific order. Just don’t forget to click on the film titles in order to accede to our exclusive dirty review!


1. Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz):

Get ready for a feast for the eyes. A visual orgasm conceived by DOP Giora Bejach. The creativity shows in every single frame, with a variety of angles, lighting and textures. Foxtrot is both a beautiful film and a piece of art, plus an incendiary anti-war statement. The visual ballet divided in three acts: Michael Feldman (Lior Ashkenazi) is informed that his son Jonathan (Yonatan Sharay), a conscript in the Israeli Army, has died; Jonathan’s days of military service in the Israeli Defense Forces, and; a long conversation between Michael and Jonathan’s mother, Dafna (Sarah Adler). Each act has a distinctive touch, and all three are strangely pleasant to watch.

Foxtrot was selected by Tiago Di Mauro.


2. Insyriated (Philippe van Leeuw):

For 85 minutes you will have to wear the shoes of Oum Yazan (in a rivetting performance delivered by the Palestinian actress and film director Hiam Abbass), as she does everything within reach in order to protect her family inside her flat in Damascus, as the Syrian War is just beginning to loom. You will be locked with Oum and seven other people in the relative safety of her middle-class dwelling, while a cannonade of bombs and machine gun fire explodes outside.

Urgent in its simplicity, the effective Insyriated will haunt you for some time. It’s a painful reminder that tragedy can strike at anytime, and that there is no such thing as a safe home. It’s also a call for action: every country should open their doors to Oum, Halima and their families.

Insyriated was selected by Victor Fraga.


3. Bingo: The King of the Mornings (Daniel Rezende):

We regret to inform you that Pennywise has been uncrowned and also stripped of his title as the dirtiest clown ever. The accolade has been rightly claimed by Brazilian Bingo. The difference is that instead of scaring and killing children, his South American counterpart subverts childhood in a very unusual way. He infuses it with swagger, malice, sensuality and a dash of naughty humour. And he’s also a little Camp. Most Americans and Europeans would cringe at the teachings of this very unusual prankster.

The character is in based on the real story of Arlindo Barreto, the first Bozo (The American clown character, which never featured on British media) on Brazilian television, back in the 1980s – his name was changed to Bingo on the movie in order to avoid legal trademark issues, and also for the sake of more artistic freedom.

Bingo: The King of the Mornings was released just last week, and it’s in cinemas now. Its immediate popularity with our readers catapulted it to our top 10.


4. The Double Lover (François Ozon):

Simply orgasmic. Ozon’s latest film 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.

The Double Lover, which is also pictured at the top of this article, was selected by our readers. It was by far the most read review of the year, suggesting that our dirty readers love a little twisted randy action! It’s yet to hot UK cinemas, so stay tuned!


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

This modern take on Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971) is an emotional, rapturous and sensual queer love story taking place in northern Italy, and it will immediately steak your heart.

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.

Call me by Your Name was selected by Maysa Monção.


6. Good Time (Ben and Josh Safdie):

The streets will feel boring and dim after you’ve watched Good Time. Working with Robert Pattinson in a role written specifically for him after seeing the brothers’ previous film Heaven Knows What (2014) – a bleak examination of a young woman’s addiction to heroin – the narrative follows Connie Nikas’ (Pattinson) quest to get his mental disabled brother, Nick, out of jail before anything life-threatening happens to him. Even before the retro Good Time title appears on screen, accompanied by a heavenly synth based score, you gain an intimate understanding of both brothers and their relationship.

As the manipulative Connie, Pattinson manages to create a human who produces both disgusts and sympathy; he is a natural-born saviour who has rejected the only paternal figure in his life. His ability to be whoever whenever is undoubtedly a gift. Acting up to police officers in lies that flow effortlessly from his mouth, Pattinson is effectively acting within acting. To Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh) he is her affectionate toy boy. Yet, Connie only sees her as a spare credit card for Nick’s bail money and a free ride around town.

Good Time was selected by Alasdair Bayman.


7. The Florida Project (Sean Baker):

The Florida Project is “a loving look at the innocence of childhood”, as announced in the film trailer. Everything the camera captures is from the point of view of three children. Sean Baker is best known for his dirty Christmas film Tangerine (2015).

Baker represents the lives of marginalised Americans. The director uses photography in order to tell a story. Mooney and Jacey want to get to the pot of gold at end of the rainbow. The colourful rainbow is a symbol of the journey the kids are about to start. They desire to get out of the margins of society. The photography is not only beautiful, but it is a meaningful part of the story.

The Florida Project was picked by Richard Greenhill.


8. My Life as a Courgette (Claude Barras):

Unlike so many mainstream children’s films which are designed to capture young minds by throwing relentless, rapid fire sounds and images at them, this one concentrates on the plight of its characters and how they deal with deep-seated social issues confronting them. A wry observational humour underscores the whole thing, as when Simon explains to the others that the final point of “doing it” is that “the man’s willy explodes”.

This is a striking script adaptation of a book realised with a real love for the craft of the stop frame animation process. Yet it’s much more than that, too: tackling difficult social issues head on whilst delivering convincing child (and adult) characters with lots of rough edges in a simple story which holds the viewer’s attention throughout.

My Life as a Courgette was selected by Jeremy Clarke.


9. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Alexandra Dean):

She was just 16 and she was a natural born star. She was the first woman who simulated an orgasm in cinema. Hedy Lamarr could have stopped her career soon after she appeared in the film Ecstasy (Machaty, 1933), but she didn’t. The feature contains nudity. What a bold woman! Beautiful and twisted face,. But she wanted more than a quick and fake pleasure. She wanted to be recognised as a clever woman. So she devised a secret communication system to help the Allies to beat the Nazis. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a historical doc that inspires us not to be defined by the labels that other people stick on us without asking.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story was selected by our readers. It’s one of the most read pieces of the year, despite seeing no theatrical distribution in the UK, and just a couple of ad hoc screenings. Time to fix that and place Hedy where she truly belongs, in front of huge audiences, recognised for both her looks and her skills.


10. Berlin Syndrome (Cate Shortland):

This German/Australian production is the suspense film of the year. It will have you on the edge of your seat. And it was directed by a woman, in what has been an excellent year for female directors in horror.

Clare (Teresa Palmer) is an Australian photojournalist visiting Berlin and trying to capture some of the city’s essence with her camera. As both a female and a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language, the actress conveys a sense of extreme vulnerability without coming across as clueless and stupid. There’s lingering fear in her eyes, even in the most trivial actions such as having a glass of wine or crossing the street. She soon falls for the handsome and charming local lecturer Andi, who eventually locks her up and turns her into some sort of sex slave.

The dirtiest aspect of Berlin Syndrome is that, unlike in the syndrome named after the Swedish capital, the victim here does not gradually begin to identify with her kidnapper. The frail and vulnerable foreigner here defies all expectations and instead morphs into a headstrong escapee. It’s remarkable that female directors are embracing the male-dominated field of suspense and horror, and to dirtylicious results.

Berlin Syndrome was selected by our readers.

By DMovies' team - 19-12-2017

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