Titane” is a film I cannot stop thinking about. It is intense and attacks a subconscious level of its viewer. What may sound as spoilers ahead only cover the first 20 or so minutes of the film, and I promise the descriptions do no justice to what you are forced to watch.
Director Julia Ducourneau previously gave us her debut feature ‘Raw’ about a vegan veterinarian-in-training going cannibal, and has now graced us with an explosive sophomore effort. It challenges the viewer to erase definitions and explore an unpaved path.
Alexis is a strange and intense person. We first see her as a child, and witness an event where her misbehavior leads to her having her head smashed against a car window and having to wear a metal brace. We then see her as a young adult who performs strip teases atop of Hotrods at big shows. She gets lots of attention and fans, and after a confrontation with one in a parking lot, she then has sex with a car.
She then returns home and runs away from her family, while pretending to become a boy who has been missing for over 10 years. She goes to the police with a story, and after mutilating herself, they contact the missing boy’s parents and they believe it is him. She then assumes this identity and life and refuses to speak a single word for the entire latter duration of the film. But yes, this is only the beginning of something horrible.
This film has intense body horror, a very vocal approach to gender exploration, lots of violence, a bunch of nudity, and some situations put on film that made my jaw drop and question what exactly I was watching. This was an experience that really stands out on its own. While I’m not directly saying that this film feels like a David Lynch or David Cronenberg movie, it certainly plays out like one – and if you’re a fan of either’s style then you know exactly what I’m talking about. That atmosphere, that feeling, that mirror into another life.
It’s awe inspiring, it’s hypnotizing, and it is a great reflection on identity, the search for love, and extreme decision making under the biggest microscope. While I can’t necessarily say that I enjoyed watching it, I undeniably can’t stop thinking about it and want to revisit it.
If you are a fan of French Extremity cinema, films full of more questions than answers, or if you simply want to be forced to feel an emotion (that may not be pleasant in the slightest), then this is a huge recommendation. There’s a reason this film hit almost everybody’s top 5 last year, and it plastered its way into my #3 slot. It is important, it is a stand-alone voice, and it may very well be the kind of film that brings comfort to a new generation of people who are having trouble understanding their own identities.
Director Julia Ducourneau is a scary person, and I am so excited to see what else she does. She’s like the feminine version of Ari Aster, but with more emphasis on the human condition.
“Titane” is currently available on VOD services, and coming to Blu Ray/DVD early February.
‘Til Next Time,