Fans of Julia Ducournau’s superb cannibal coming-of-age debut Raw have waited a full five years to see the maverick French writer-director’s follow-up. Luckily for us, Titane has very much been worth the wait.
While Raw certainly turned heads on its release, Titane went one step further, winning the prestigious Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Due to COVID there was no Palme D’Or in 2020, so the last film to win the coveted award was Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite in 2019 – can Titane replicate that film’s crossover success?
The pleasures of _Titane’_s narrative twists and turns are best left to the audience to discover upon watching, but rest assured, this is as violent, freaky, and cinematic as Ducournau’s debut, and she remains committed to exploring a uniquely female perspective in horror. Echoing Raw, Titane opens with a car crash and Ducournau has lost none of her skill or style in shooting the more horrific sequences in the film, pushing that sense of transgressive body-horror to its extreme – famously, there were reports of fainting in the audience when Raw played Cannes in 2016, and fans will be pleased to hear that there have been similar reports made of this film.
There are certainly Cronenbergian influences in _Titane_’s melding of flesh and metal (and in its fetishistic view of cars) but Ducournau is an utterly singular director. Much has been written about modern horror directors like Ari Aster and Robert Eggers, but like _The Babadook_’s Jennifer Kent, Ducournau continues to break away from the pack in her pursuit of foregrounding a female perspective within the conventions of the horror genre, and Titane is a wonderful reflection of her trailblazing nature: undeniably grisly, tirelessly inventive, genuinely shocking and completely fearless.
Kazak Productions, Spirit