CLOSING GALA: TITANE
Dir. Julia Ducournau | France/Belgium | 2021 | 108 mins
After a devastating car accident, young Alexia undergoes invasive brain surgery, leaving her with a titanium plate permanently screwed into her skull. Years later, this traumatic event has left Alexia with an irresistible sexual attraction to cars, which she indulges in her job as a stripper performing at car shows. Spurred on by this most curious of peccadilloes, Alexia’s dancing attracts a fair amount of unwanted attention, which she handles in particularly bloody fashion with the aid of a metal hairpin. When Alexia’s rage spirals out of control, however, she realises that she’s out of options and with nowhere to run, resorts to desperate measures.
Any attempt to further encapsulate Julia Ducournau’s breathtaking second feature beyond the description above would risk spoiling the experience. Having closed Celluloid Screams in 2016 with her striking debut feature RAW, we knew that there was only one choice of film to close this year’s festival. Having won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival back in July, Titane is primed to set the world alight with the director’s expert blend of body horror and flashes of the blackest humour. A transgressive, lurid masterpiece that takes in gender fluidity, ultra-violence and a rather unhealthy relationship with automobiles, TITANE is an essential piece of contemporary extreme cinema. Prepare yourselves.