The Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Ireland


Parties, music and pretty boys: for Jade and her friends, London nightlife is a weekly highlight. But Jade meets mostly stares now that her face is scarred after a cowardly acid attack by her ex. Painful experiences are not enough to daunt the tough young mother, however; but will her life ever return to normal now that even her daughter is afraid to look at her? On a road of denial, shame, hope and betrayal, Jade learns that in the end she needs the courage to look beyond her vulnerable appearance to find her indestructible core.

Director's Statement

I wanted to make a film that is set in the present, a period in which appearance prevails. In this selfie-generation, imagery is more important than ever. The internet and how one comes across on it has a great impact.

Your face is your identity. The first portal of communication. I had been toying with the idea of making a feature film about a young burnt woman who has to deal with her life for some time. She struggles with everything with which most young women struggle but on top of that, something horrible has happened to her.

From a dramatic point of view, I was triggered by the fact that Jade’s ex had thrown acid into her face. Never before has a film been made about this. For a person doing such a thing – which to me is inconceivable – it apparently is an act of vengeance. If you refuse to be beautiful for me, I won’t let you be beautiful for anybody. Besides, the act itself is as simple as throwing a glass of water into someone else’s face. Often, the perpetrator has no idea of the consequences his attack has on the victim. For the victim or the survivor, life will never be the same again. The last few years the number of acid attacks in London multiplied dramatically, to 465 attacks in 2017.

I didn’t want to make a depressing film, but a colourful film and tell the story from Jade’s perspective and strength. For me, it was really important that the solution was not in finding a new boyfriend, but that Jade would take control of her life and would transcend the limitations of her appearance.

DIRTY GOD is a film about a young mother who has lost her bearings after a terrible incident. In the end, however, she learns to accept herself. A woman who faces life with an incredible amount of strength and humour. In her search for love for herself and others she tries to keep going, which is not all that easy at times. What I remember is that all the women with burns I met had to find a way to deal with themselves and with their new form. Whichever path they chose and whatever the outcome, that was their journey. And what’s universal in this process, is that it’s challenging for every one of us to confront ourselves with feelings of external beauty versus inner dignity. A challenge for every woman in the world.

Director's Biography

Born in 1982, Sacha Polak is an award-winning director and screenwriter. In 2006 she graduated from the Dutch Academy for Film and Television. Her two feature films HEMEL (2012) and ZURICH (2014) received a lot of appreciation from the international press. Both films were selected for a range of international film festivals.

2019 - DIRTY GOD
2015 - ZURICH
2013 - NEW BOOBS, doc.
2012 - HEMEL

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Sacha Polak

Written by: Sacha Polak, Susanne Farrell

Produced by: Marleen Slot, Michael Elliott, Dries Phlypo, John Keville

Cinematography: Ruben Impens

Editing: Sander Vos

Production Design: Sanne Schat

Costume Design: Tine Deseure, Sara Hakkenberg

Make-Up & Hair: Morten Jacobsen, Rogier Samuels, Lindelotte van der Meer

Original Score: Rutger Reinders

Sound: Oliver Pattinama, Michelle Fingleton

Visual Effects: Jan Daghelinckx

Cast: Vicky Knight (Jade), Katherine Kelly (Lisa), Eliza Brady-Girard (Rae), Rebecca Stone (Shami), Bluey Robinson (Naz), Dana Marineci (Flavia)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2019