Julia Ducournau Palme D’or winning examination of parenthood and fathers, might leave many a viewer upset. It left me, in honesty perplexed but impressed. Like RAW before it, the physical space is fractured by both the personal and emotional. Unlike RAW, which was a coming of age horror story (see our review) TITANE took a vague introduction, some delirious murders and a constricted but empathetic love story under its folds of brutalised flesh. Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) suffered a terrible accident as a child and was left disfigured. As an adult she works as a showgirl at a motor show and murders unexpecting people. As a serial killer, with the bodies of several men and women in her trial, she needs to flee. However as her body begins to change, she has become pregnant after having sex with a car and motor oil secreting from her vagina. This feels as if Ducournau adored J G Ballard’s writing and then wanted to explore societies obsession with technology. However it feels as if the body horror aspects becomes the main fixation. I get why. The body is violated and the way we seem to become and are becoming more consumed by tech, is rupturing our physical frames but unlike RAW, which observed how in youth, we can ‘eat ourselves’, it is less measured or skilled. Also the depictions of masculinity (which I understand is under exploration here) flits between cold and distant or empty and void.

Alexia, then goes to the police pretending to be Adrien Legrand, a young boy who disappeared ten years before at the tender age of seven. Adrien’s father, Vincent (Vincent Lindon), confines his missing son has returned and refuses any DNA tests to confirm totally. Vincent works as a local fire captain and takes Alexia under his care and wing. Here again Ducournau seems to be looking into the works of others, here being Fassbinder. But interestingly she finds her pace, tone and loses the oppressive ominous opening. Fatherhood is perceived as both tender and vulnerable, Alexia becomes human and compassionate. The removal of the cold killer also counter balances her trauma physically. At which point the film becomes something more personal. There we see the coming of age pains. Motherhood. Love. The problem of family trauma and how it creates a long term posion. But mostly, how sometimes we can find hope in the most extreme of circumstances.



HITS SCREENS 31 December 2021


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