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  • Writer's pictureJack Salvadori

Cannes 74: ‘Titane’ Review

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

The Shape of Gasoline

Holy Motors! What did I just watch?!

Finally Cannes has presented its first horror in this year’s competition, Julia Ducournau’s Titane. But the virtuous camera movements and highly-choreographed action sequences are not what thrill the audience. Let’s put it this way: Titane is the polar opposite of Fast and Furious- the unsympathetic Alexia, our sociopath protagonist, fucks cars and wrecks humans instead.

We never really feel for Alexia. At the start of Titane, her childish behaviour is the direct cause for a car accident, resulting in the need for a titanium plate to be implanted in her skull. Buckle your seatbelt, as this will be but one of the many hyper-realistic sequences which had me squirming in my seat even though I didn’t dare to look away. Ducournau’s film is so detailed and perversely violent, which of course is all part of the fun. Yes, fun, as Titane also had me laughing out loud with tears 3 times, with the rest of the audience excitedly clapping at the screen every 15 minutes. Of particular note is a mother & son cardiac massage sequence. Ducournau manages to turn what has all the ingredients to be an emotional dramatic scene- a mother having a heart attack after discovering her son has overdosed- into an hilarious one to the rhythm of the Macarena, turning all the innocent viewers into sick people not too far removed from Alexia.

Escaping from her crimes, she finds shelter with a foolish and desperate macho fireman who, lost in his loneliness, blindly accepts her as his long missing son. What started as a horror turns into a family drama, a father-and-fake-son buddying movie. But Alexia’s struggles to hide her true identity gets more and more challenging everyday, as she has to deal with a titanic, automotive pregnancy. May this be the origin movie of Terminator? Freddy Kruger had his rusty bladed glove, Jason his machete, and Jack Torrance his axe. I can only hope that Alexia’s go to weapon will join this club: a single chopstick she also employs to tie her hair together, when she doesn’t stab it in someone’s head. This, ladies and gentlemen, is cinema.


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