Titane is a genre-splicing Auto-Body Horror film from the beautifully grotesque mind of French filmmaker Julia Ducournau.

There is much talk amongst film critics, journalists and casual Horror fans describing this film as ‘’shocking’’, ’’triggering’’ and ‘’controversial’’… this film simply was not made for them.
Ducournau herself recently stated that her ‘’…intention is never to shock’’; she simply grabs the viewer by the throat and does not loosen her throttle.

The first three minutes alone feature a cataclysmic event in our young narrators life and, the first thirty minutes of this film WILL leave your jaw hanging.

‘Titane’ gives us what ‘Crash’ merely teased and features fetishized scenes showcasing sexual encounters with…cars, which are sure to make Cronenberg himself blush.

I would highly recommend going into this one blind; avoid the sensationalist spoilers and enter this neon-lit, chromatic, ruthless world alone much like our Protagonist Alexia does and you will fully appreciate the immersive experience which this cinematic art has to offer.

The film stars Alexia, a dancer who defies the word ‘exotic’ and relishes in her own art form which veers into the extreme spectrum of Alternative-Burlesque.

Agathe Rousselle debuts her acting skills here as Alexia, an outsider living with bodily Trauma as well as an undiagnosed mental illness in a world where she must constantly flee unwanted male attention while seeking out kinship in a soul who will accept her ‘otherness’.

There is no heavy-handed social commentary here; Ducournau presents a deeply flawed female with no cliché, cool affectations but instead alludes to themes of female trauma, woman’s bodily autonomy, Gender Dysphoria, the Male Gaze, abuse, parental wounds and, society’s obsession with celebrity in both tender and brutal ways- this is not a Horror movie, this is Greek Tragedy encapsulated onscreen so that we may collectively share Alexia’s trauma.

When Rousselle is onscreen it is akin to witnessing a wild animal within her natural element.

She is physical and unpredictable- her feral sex appeal and unflinching stare are so naturalistic that it emotes an uncomfortable feeling within while holding our undivided attention.
Ducournau does not shy away from showcasing female sexuality and sensuality but does so in a way which defies the male gaze- Alexia dances for herself, for her beloved car and we are merely uninvited spectators.

One particular scene involving Alexia dancing atop her coveted muscle car is performed entirely in one take which defies the norms and restrictions of modern cinema.

It is dizzying, sensuous and features awe-inspiring dance sequences against a backdrop of neon lighting, V8 engines and the female form while never descending into gratuity.
Many will adore this film such as I did however, I absolutely needed time to process what I had just experienced and, I can see this element being divisive for some movie-goers.

There are tonal shifts throughout the story which may serve as a disappointment to those seeking a linear, gory Horror ride- this is not it.
The violence, gore and Body Horror are disturbing yes but they feel earned; there are lulls in the action which occur throughout different points in the story.

This film feels more like a Beethoven symphony- ebbing, flowing, speeding up and slowing it’s route; lulling us into false security before assaulting us once again.

The film’s reveal will subvert your expectations and its beauty lies within Ducournau’s ability to convince you that you are complicit in a cruel nightmare.

However, the finale belies the darker elements and, instead leaves us with an uplifting message: learn to love in a loveless world even when you have never been shown this yourself.

Titane will divide audiences but if you take the time to process everything which this film has to offer then, you may find that you love it afterall.

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4/5 🖤🖤🖤🖤