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The top 10 dirtiest films of 2018

We look back at the year of 2018 and ask our writers and readers to pick their dirty movie of the year; the list is as international, diverse and downright filthy as it gets!

Another year has gone by and DMovies is now nearly three years old. Since we started in February 2016, we have published 1,100 exclusive articles and reviews. We have attended both big and small small festivals and industry events on both sides of the Atlantic, always digging the dirty gems of cinema firsthand and exclusively for you.

This year alone, we have published 450 articles and reviews and renewed our partnership with VoD providers such as Walk This Way and ArteKino. Plus, our weekly newsletter has highlighted the best films out in cinemas, festivals, VoD and DVD every Friday to our 25,000 subscribers! We now have 100,000 monthly visitors on average.

So we decided to pull together a little list of the 10 dirtiest films of 2018. And what better way to do it than asking our most prolific writers and also our audience for their dirty pick of the year? This is a truly diverse and international list, containing very different films from every corner of the planet, some big, some small, some you can still catch in cinemas, some on VoD and some you will just have to keep an eye for, at least for now!

Don’t forget to click on the film title in order to accede to the our dirty review of the movie (not necessarily written by the same person who picked it as their dirty film of the year).

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1. Shoplifters (Hirozaku Koreeda):

Selected by Alasdair Bayman and Tiago Di Mauro:

Alasdair writes: “Fashioning himself into the hearts of festival viewers for years with features as After Life (1998) even through to neo-noir Third Murder (2017), Hirokazu Koreeda is a master of conveying the purest of human emotions on screen. Yet, his Palm d’Or winning Shoplifters (2018), on the surface, appears in to be purely in the ilk of similar films in his oeuvre. Nevertheless, what is quietly breathtaking about his latest film is that it comes to subvert any predictable pleasures that one may hold before entering the theatre. Central to these small twists is the pivotal final act which lands a sly uppercut to one’s emotional state. Further, the direction is objective towards the titular group of people – they simply exist in a state of love, without any prejudices.

Personally, witnessing the dexterous Kirin Kiki give one of her last on-screen performances, after sadly passing away in September, adds a deeper level of profundity to the narrative. Supported by the whole cast, particularly Lily Franky as the dishevelled father figure, the visuals merge with Haruomi Hosono’s tender score to create a definitive cinematic experience not only the greatest of 2018, but of modern cinema”

Tiago writes: “Reset the world! Hirozaku Koreeda’s magnificent accomplishment by Director Hirokazu illustrates the beauty of the relationships and their impact on our lives – even where they disregard social conventions, laws, assignments and dogmas. The topic fits in very well in a world facing a crisis of human values. It’s a delicate, profound and controversial study of an unconventional family. And of how the family concept evolves with time”.

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2. The Wild Pear Tree (Nuri Bilge Ceylan):

Selected by Redmond Bacon:

“Nuri Bilge Ceylan is never in a rush. His movies are meditative, talky, novelistic. The Wild Pear Tree is no exception, taking over three hours to explore the life of a graduate returning to his hometown to try and write a novel. Interweaving discussions about literature, Islam, love and success, its a film simply bursting with ideas. At first appearing to be plotless, once the central conflict between father and son slowly comes into view, Ceylan has slyly dug his claws in. Its an astonishing mastery of form, showing a director at the top of his game.”

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3. Slam (Partho Sen-Gupta):

Selected by Victor Fraga.

“This is not your average Australian film. In fact, it’s as international as it gets. The action takes place in New South Wales, but the crew and cast are very international indeed. The director Partho Sen-Gupta is originally from Mumbai, while the lead role is played by Palestinian actor Adam Bakri. The topics addressed are also universal: cultural assimilation, Islamophobia and religious/political extremism.

Ameena (Danielle Horvat) is a young rebel. She lives with her mother, a Palestinian refugee. She’s an activist and a feminist. She wears a hijab out of choice because she believes that women should be respected for their fists, and not for their curves. She routinely engages in slam poetry in the local community centre, a competition in which poets perform the spoken word. The letters “S-L-A-M” are written on her hand, very much à la The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955). Her performances are hypnotic and passionate. Her room is covered in Palestinian freedom, fight racism and antifa posters.”

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4. Blindspotting (Carlos Lopez Estrada):

Selected by Fiona Whitelaw.

“This is a film that has a lot to say, with detail, subtlety and poetic wit. It made me laugh out loud and also flinch with alarm. The central spine is the relationship between best friends since childhood Colin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal). This relationship sits within a story of the changing neighbourhood of Oakland, California and the lethal relationship the police have with black men in America.

The first thing that draws you into this story is the visual and vocal panache of a style that realises this tightly wound genius of a script (Daveed Diggs/Rafael Casal). The editor (Gabriel Fleming) deserves a special mention here. Scenes are beautifully cut through with tight cut away shots of doors slamming, feet on truck pedals, faces on wall murals and the juxtaposition of regular and ‘hipster gentrified’ housing.”

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5. Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev):

Selected by Richard Greenhill.

“In a year in which Russia has often dominated headlines, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless reminded us that the most incisive social and political critique often comes from Russia’s own artistic community. His savage thriller is gripping throughout and visually arresting, throwing the viewer into a stark spiritual emptiness that resonates further West too”

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6. Widows (Steve McQueen):

Selected by Eoghan Lyng.

It’s the closest thing he’s directed to a mainstream movie, but Steve McQueen’s towering Widows (2018) is also his best work since Hunger (2008). His first three films cemented themselves under the performances of Michael Fassbender’s withering body, Cary Mulligan’s naked body and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s naked soul bearing, yet this bears an entire ensemble of credible performances. McQueen has not lost the eye for insurrectory, bringing the muscular Liam Neeson in bed with the beguiling Viola Davis, an addition to this painter turned filmmakers growing collection of incisive and thoughtful pieces.

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7. Crowhurst (Simon Rumley):

Selected by Paul Risker.

“Aesthetically impassioned filmmaking, Rumley’s visual eye and how he marries it to the soundtrack seers the experience of Crowhurst to one’s memory. Beneath this aesthetic flare lies a touching story of aspiration, that in the time of Brexit offers a reflective insight into the fallacy of the identity of this once great isle”

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8. Burning (Lee Chang-dong):

Selected by Ben Flanagan. Also pictured at the top of the article.

“What do we burn for? Is the question at the heart of Lee Chang Dong’s latest, an extended masterpiece that meditates on the transience of identity, voyeurism, and a changing South Korea. But the Hitchcock of it all, might come as a surprise.

Yoo Ah-in plays Lee, an aspiring writer who begins a fling with a Shin (Jeon Jong-seo), a girl he once bullied in high school. He soon moves out of Seoul and back to his father’s farm, where propaganda alerts from Pyongyang echo from across the border. In a nation that, Dong suggests, increasingly revolves around city life, his family duty has him tethered to a liminal Korean zone.”

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9. Big Fish & Begonia (Liang Xuan, Zhang Chun):

Selected by Jeremy Clarke.

“Around the age of 16, people in the spirit world must visit the world of the humans, with whom they are warned not to interact, as a rite of passage. Thus it is that teenage spirit girl Chun must pass through the elemental maelstrom linking her world and ourswhereupon she is transformed into a red dolphin and made to spend seven days in the seas of the human world.

The whole is rendered in beautifully drawn animation as effective at portraying in the heroine’s internal life as it is in bringing incredible landscapes and fantastic creatures to the screen. The pace is mesmerisingly slow in places, breathtakingly action-packed in others. Where else can you see a girl sell half her life to save someone else’s, a man play mah-jong against three other versions of himself or the terrible portent of snow falling in the middle of Summer? For the finale, it throws in cataclysmic floods and waterspouts descending from the skies.”

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10. The Trial (Maria Augusta Ramos):

Selected by our audience (most read review of the year, with more than 50,000 views).

“The world is blithely unaware of the coup d’état that took place in largest country of Latin America in 2016. Most people outside Brazil assume that the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff was a legitimate process in accordance with the country’s constitution. Many think that Dilma was involved in some sort of corruption scandal and that her removal was an entirely bona fide process. The 137-minute documentary The Trial reveals the details of a process so absurd that it’s akin to Kafka’s eponymous novel, which is mentioned the film. The book tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote authority, with the nature of his crime remaining a mystery. Not too to different to what happened to Dilma.

The Trial premiered at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival in February, when this piece was originally written. The film received a standing ovation that lasted nearly 10 minutes, the largest one I have ever witnessed at the Festival (which I have attended eight times). This is a powerful venting outlet and denunciation tool for Brazilians who feel that they have been denied a voice in the mainstream media.”

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And a last minute addition (let’s play it dirty and make it 11 instead of 10)…

11. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos):

Selected by Steve Lee Naish.

“It exists as a headfuck, a hallucinatory trip, but it’s one worth taking and experiencing in all its lucid glory. The action takes place in 1983 in the Pacific Northwest of America that seems devoid of people, at least normal people. But we know this is no alternate reality, however much Mandy believes in the supernatural or the otherworldly. President Ronald Reagan appears on the radio rallying against drugs and pornography. If Mandy had been released at the time of Reagan, the moral majority would have flipped at its bent vision of religion and God. Still, the woods, mountains, and lakes are bathed in a fog of dreamy light and aura that offers a sense that weirdness is a norm in these parts.”


By DMovies' team - 18-12-2018

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