Director: Julia Ducournau
Runtime: 108 mins
Cast: Nathalie Boyer, Vincent Lindon, Agathe Rousselle, Myriem Akheddiou, Dominique Frot
Synopsis: A girl is injured in a car accident as her father explodes at her for humming too loudly. To save her life, surgeons insert a titanium plate into her head, which seems to give her a metal fetish. As a grown woman, Alexia is an exotic dancer at car shows, sexually aroused by the cars themselves. Also, she’s a serial killer.
Written and directed by Julia Ducournau [Raw (2016)] Titane is a bold, body horror which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year when it had its world premiere at on 13 July 2021, where she became the second fem,ale director to win the festival’s prestigious top award.
Visceral, bewildering with gruesome and disturbing imagery and content, it is led by a powerful central performance from newcomer, Agathe Rousselle, in her first film.
When we first see Alexia she is little girl annoying her father by misbehaving in the family car by humming loudly in their car. She kicks the back of his seat, takes off her seat belt and when he turns to shout at her there is a terrible crash.
One session of gross, close-up brain surgery later, Alexia has had a titanium plate fitted in her head. Far from putting her off cars, as soon as she leaves the hospital after the operation, she walks away from her parents and hugs and kisses the car instead.
Later she becomes an exotic dancer at a car show with a fetish for automobiles and also a serial killer.
On the run, in an airport, Alexia sees a poster about a missing boy and by then appears to be pregnant.
Storied French actor, Vincent Lindon [La Haine (1995), Anything for Her (2008), The Measure of a Man (2015), Diary of a Chambermaid (2015)], plays the lonely fire chief, who believes that he is a father reunited with the son who has been missing for the previous ten years.
Titane is loaded with graphic horrors, aggressive camerawork, gruesome images and garish almost fluorescent, visual flourishes from cinematographer Reuben Impens, accompanied by sensory sound and a hypnotic original score from composer Jim Williams.
As the lonely Fire Chief named Vincent, Lindon injects emotional coherence and humanity into the provocative, uncomfortable imagery of the enigmatic thriller which, although extreme in body horror, reflects important issues about gender, sexuality, family and human relationships.
Titane is an original, ambitious film, with a bizarre story well told, that alternately fascinates and frustrates, clearly establishing Ducournau as a creative energy to watch out for.
In cinemas from December 26, 2021
Images courtesy of: Altitude