“Titane”, Palme d’Or at the 74th Cannes Film Festival: sex, tin and rock n’roll, Julia Ducournau’s roaring masterpiece

WE LOVE – There will be a before and an after “Titane” on the Croisette. In her second film after “Grave”, the young French director Julia Ducournau orchestrates the fusion of flesh and metal to tell the story of gender, identity and filiation. A small miracle that could place her very high on the prize list of the 74th Cannes Film Festival.

Will Spike Lee and his new friends dare to award him the Palme? Or be satisfied with a jury prize so as not to shock the sensitive souls of the Croisette? Whatever happens on Saturday night, Julia Ducournau signed with Titanium the most stunning film of this 74th Cannes Film Festival. And not just because he started off with a pile-up, the one that left little Alexia with a titanium plate in her skull. Doctors may warn his parents against possible neurological sequelae, they do not know what to expect …

As an adult, Alexia (the captivating Agathe Rousselle) proudly shows off her impressive scar and her female body during erotic-motorized shows that make the clandestine races of Fast & Furious for pleasant merry-go-round rides at Disneyland. Under the showers, she meets Justine (Garance Mariller), a little newcomer, before being accosted in the parking lot by a very heavy fan who will regret the trip. But it’s a third meeting let’s say more “mechanical” that will change the course of history …

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The Cannes Film Festival is back after a year of pandemic

A great mutant movie

Five years later Serious, presented at Critics’ Week and nominated for the César for best first film, some feared that the march of the official selection was too high for the former student of the Femis, fed on films by David Cronenberg and John Carpenter. But not only Titanium is in competition. But whatever happens, this mutant feature film will have offered festival-goers the kind of shock that we will talk about again in many years. No need to wait very long to give you an opinion since it is in theaters this Wednesday. A word of advice: have a light meal or no meal at all before the session.

If you’ve read the film’s pitch, know that Julia Ducournau intentionally muddied the waters to surprise viewers on the true nature of her plot, and that’s fine. Digesting the references cited above, and others more specific such as the Tetsuo by Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Titanium is above all a great film about the body. Its beauty, its mutations, the pain that we inflict on it and that it inflicts on us. On gender, identity and filiation also through the relationship that is formed with the character played by Vincent Lindon, transformed into a monster of muscles and love.

Titanium is obviously not the kind of experience which spares the spectators and if some people turn the eye in the turns, it is normal. However, its shock effects are never free, on the contrary. They bear witness to the intimate evolution of the heroine, both literally and figuratively, Julia Ducournau orchestrating them with a delicious dose of dark humor which finds its climax in a sensational cover of “La Macarena” – you read that correctly – which ‘we dream of singing in chorus during the prize list. Chick?

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    How Agathe Rousselle became the heroine of “Titane”, the Palme d’Or of Julia Ducournau

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“Titane”, Palme d’Or at the 74th Cannes Film Festival: sex, tin and rock n’roll, Julia Ducournau’s roaring masterpiece

Hank Gilbert