I am normally content to wait until a movie comes to my local movie theater or, barring that, waiting for a DVD release to see a film I’ve been wanting to see. But when it came to Titane, the second film from director Julia Ducournau…ever since I listened to the film’s soundtrack last week my interest in this film escalated to a near-obsession. So much so, that when I found out Titane was playing at a movie theater 2 1/2 hours away from me, I made arrangements to drive up and see it, I was that eager to see what this film was all about.
After sitting wide-eyed through Titane, I can still feel my brain reeling from what I experienced. I fully admit I don’t understand everything I saw in this film, but I know I liked it.
Titane is set in France and follows a dancer named Alexia who gains some…unusual….tendencies after a skull injury is repaired with a titanium plate as a child (from this we derive the title of the film). I’ve let this film percolate in my brain for close to a week now and to be honest I still can’t adequately put into words what this film is about past that point, and to be honest I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. There’s definitely a message in there about love and acceptance (even if that love comes from an unhealthy place) but it’s all tied together in a story that is extremely twisted and not for the faint of heart. I also can’t help but wonder if there was a metaphor buried in the film about the risks that can come from having unprotected sex, as that’s the only explanation I can come up with for THAT scene (you know the one I mean if you’ve seen the movie) early in the story.
Be assured, Titane is well-named as a body horror film, though it wasn’t quite for the reasons I was expecting. Regardless, there are several moments in this film that will make you feel deeply uncomfortable, though I’m proud to say I only had to look away once. What really surprised me about Titane is this one part in the middle that veered into black comedy. It was a turn that came out of nowhere and isn’t repeated once the moment passes, but for some reason it completely works. Titane as a whole is not a movie that you would think would make you laugh, but this moment did make me laugh, and I liked that the movie was able to do that.
The one part of the film that really surprised me is how the music actually fit in with the film itself. If you’ve seen my soundtrack review for Titane, then you know I imagined the first half of the soundtrack as being set in some twisted, metallic temple, but having seen the film I realize that isn’t quite accurate now. Instead, I realize that the more appropriate description for the first half of the music would be to say that it is set inside Alexia’s mind, showing how empty she is (in more ways than one). It’s only as the story moves forward and develops, and we follow Alexia’s story, that the music fills out. I do stand by my interpretation of the end of the soundtrack though: my image of a twisted cathedral remains intact, especially (minor spoiler warning) if you consider that final scene a subversion of Madonna and Child.
The point is, Titane is one of the best films I’ve seen this year, the fact that I can’t put all of my feelings about it into words doesn’t change that at all. Julia Ducournau is now one of my favorite directors and I can’t wait to see what she creates moving forward (as well as checking out her directorial debut Raw).
Let me know what you think about Titane in the comments below and have a great day!
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