Review: Julia Ducournau’s Boundary Pushing & Genre Blurring TITANE

4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes movies exist in their own realm, ornaments and statues dedicated to the singular style and thought process of one person’s vision. Julia Ducournau’s Titane is one such film. The French filmmaker scored worldwide acclaim with her powerful 2016 cannibal drama debut, Raw and her follow-up, Titane scored raves at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or. It’s a film where arthouse cinema and the horror genre converge to deliver a hybrid movie which is a boundary pushing and genre blurring piece of art. 

Throwing all conventions away, Ducournau delivers a film that is so unique it’s almost unquantifiable. A body horror drama that could perplex even David Cronenberg, Titane is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s a cinematic freak-out of a movie that borders on the grotesque but Ducournau manages keep it focused well within her own specific vision (and what a vision that is). A film about trauma, family and desire, Titane may have a far-out premise, but it works within is own rules where even the implausible feels plausible. 

Agathe Rousselle is excellent as Alexia, a young woman injured in a motor accident as a child, she grows-up with a titanium plate in her head (the title’s titane). Damaged emotionally and physically, Alexia is a violent killer with a lusting for motor vehicles. When she falls pregnant after having sex with a car(!) she kills her parents and ends-up on the run, passing herself off as a boy who went missing years before.  She befriends the missing boy’s father (Vincent Lindon) as she attempts to come to terms with the new life she’s living and her ever changing body.

There’s no doubt that Titane is a challenging film and it manages to do so in all the right ways. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it will certainly leave an impression on those who watch it. With just two films under her belt, Julia Ducournau  has already shown that she’s a filmmaker to be reckoned with – and your guess is as good as mine as to where she goes from here.