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Interview: Sacha Polak – Dirty God

Dutch director Sacha Polak has blossomed into a perceptively humanist filmmaker with her third feature – and first in English – Dirty God. In this London-set drama, the camera is intensely drawn to the skin of protagonist Jade, just as the director smartly cedes the stage to Vicky Knight, the non-professional actress who plays the role and who joined Polak in re-calibrating a personal experience as a burn survivor into a fictional construction, crucially quite different from her own.

The raw, jagged traits of her personality help make Dirty God a compelling woman-centric story, with notes of class commentary and a refreshing take on self-sabotaging vulnerability. Having started her journey with the film in Rotterdam early last year, Sacha Polak made one last stop in Asia for the International Film Festival & Awards Macao, where I sat down with her to discuss her approach to naturalism on camera, lessons learned now that the film is in the rear-view mirror, and the shaping of her brand as a filmmaker.

A freelance film critic and programmer, Tommaso Tocci is based between Paris and Rome. He covers the European festival circuit and he's a member of FIPRESCI and the International Cinephile Society. His Top 3 for 2021: After Blue (Bertrand Mandico), Titane (Julia Ducournau), What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (Alexandre Koberidze).

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