When Titane added fuel to the fire of the Croisette [critique]

Five years after Grave, Julia Ducournau demonstrated with Titane all the singularity, richness and brutality of her cinema. Ye who enter here, abandon all hope.

Alert, Palme d’Or! Within Arte's enormous Cannes selection, the channel will offer this evening Titaniumwhich is the big winner of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. See you at 11 p.m., unless you prefer to (re)see the film in replay ?

Here is our review of the event film Julia Ducournauinitially published the evening of its screening on the Croisette.

Vincent Lindon – Titanium: “It's all me, including the butt”

Five years later Severe and her global buzz began at Critics' Week under the nose of the official selection, Julia Ducournau is now aiming for the Palme. This does not mean that she has dressed her cinema in finery designed to seduce an audience disguised for the occasion. We know that on the Croisette, fantastical irruptions divide more than they unite. Titanium with its crumpled metal, its damaged bodies, its bloody metamorphoses, its poisonous secretions, is undoubtedly the most agitated and uneasy thing we will see of the present vintage. We therefore thank the filmmaker for this breath of fresh air – and when we know to what extent the universe she offers here is stifled and compartmentalized, the notion of air is entirely relative.

Like Severe – and the short film Junior before him -, Titanium is the story of a mutation. Or how can we understand a body that nature forces us to exhibit and support? Scratched, scarified, damaged, eaten, sucked, the skin suffers a thousand insults. Julia Ducournau is the apostle of carnivorous cinema. After an intro of which nothing will be revealed and which ensures a form of continuity with the previous film, we discover the heroine Alexia (the revelation Agathe Rousselle) in the middle of a striptease in a tuning salon in front of an audience of horny men . But the tall blonde only has eyes for the gleaming cabin whose shapes she sensually embraces. His gestures, both mechanical and abrupt, immediately reveal a shadowy fragility.

Once Alexia leaves the light of the headlights, the film will gradually descend into deep night. A night where all rest is forbidden. In this world (the film was shot in the south of France), the threat is permanent: children disappear, savage crimes take place… Alexia, child-adult seems totally unsuitable. She discovers otherness but doesn't know how to do it. The Justine of Severe (Garance Marillier) will pay the price. Alexia is more at ease in the cabin of a car vibrating the interior leather and the ceiling light (special dedication to the Christina by John Carpenter!)


The film seems to advance in blocks where all normality exhausts itself to create its own chaos. The ambient strangeness dictates its law. The film will nevertheless become established with the arrival of Vincent Lindon in the frame. He is propelled into the film like a wounded and therefore nervous animal. Sharpened by hours spent in a gym, the actor plays the leader of a patrol of young firefighters. The man is as sad as the moonless night in the film. His meeting with Alexia turns into an emotional obsession. Alexia will once again have to mutate, to become something else. This is the only logic she knows: to change in order to exist, not to satisfy a few fantasies but to find an identity that she can finally claim.

Titanium is also a fluid mechanics, secretions abound. Julia Ducournau signs a rich, powerful, violent film, whose radicality is not there to impress the gallery but rather to delineate the contours of a universe black as hell. As we write these lines, we have not yet completely got off the car. Titanium is gold.

After Titane, Julia Ducournau prepares Alpha, with Golshifteh Farahani and Tahar Rahim


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