This Filthy Earth review

Inspired by both Émile Zola's La Terre and John Berger's Pig Earth, writer/director Andrew Kotting's film is a visceral tale of greed, cruelty and superstition in a remote Yorkshire community peopled by demented preachers, blind vagabonds and cantankerous crones.

Sisters Kath (Demelza Randall) and Francine (Rebecca Palmer) eke out a living on their late parents' farm, but to Francine's dismay her elder sibling gets engaged to the bullish Buto (Shane Attwooll). But what is the business of the mysterious, gentle stranger (Xavier Tchili) who speaks in a Russian-sounding dialect?

Making the viewer aware of the constructed nature of the film (speeded-up footage, shifts from celluloid to digital video), Kotting conjures up a singular cinematic universe, simultaneously demolishing the myth of the English countryside as a pastoral idyll. The lack of tonal variety in the deliberately grotesque material is offset by the feral power of the ensemble performances.

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Available platformsMovie