Titane is the latest feature film of French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, which won the Palma d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, Raw, was OK and succeeded in telling what we should expect from Julia Ducournau. As much as I wanted to watch Titane, I was disappointed. Titane is lost in the imagination of being an art-house film.
*This review contains spoilers for Titane*
Adrian, played by Agathe Rousselle, had an accident in childhood, leading to surgery in which they put a titanium plate in her head. We see she is very fond of cars, and after a cut, we see her dancing and stripping for a car showroom. These are the first 10 minutes of the film, and everything good about it ends just about there.
Titane is a body horror movie in which we’ll see a lot of disgusting scenes. The unbearable aspect of this film is not its raw scenes but the lack of necessity of those scenes. Numerous sequences could have been shorter and still have the same impact, but Ducournau insists on making the scenes longer.
Titane is Agathe Rousselle’s first film, and she does a pretty good job for a novice actress. If it wasn’t for her authentic portrayal of Adrien, I don’t know how I could bring myself to watch the film until the end.
Adrien has some fundamental mental issues. She kills everyone who tries to get close to her. It might have made sense if the film showed why she’s killing all these people who appear to be innocent. The question I have been asking myself many times watching Titane was why? And I got zero answers from the film.
Adrien’s character is hard to understand on its own, and the fact that the film doesn’t bother itself to explain what is going on makes it even harder. In the first half of Titane, Adrian has sex with a car and gets pregnant by it. Not only is it not rational, and no one with a healthy mind would accept a woman could get pregnant by car oil, Ducournau doesn’t even put a flashlight on how it is even possible.
Justine is one of the characters that Adrien kills without any reason. Justine is the main character of Julia Ducournau’s previous film, Raw. Body horror has been Ducournau’s favorite genre, and she made her two feature films in this genre. Although Raw is not a great film either, it doesn’t have fundamental problems like Titane.
Titane wants to think of itself as some art-house film, but the best it can do is mock the genre. It tries to be an avant-garde piece of art but fails to copy the weakest of avant-garde arts. Ducournau attempted to make a kind of movie in which the viewer would have their unique understanding of it but somehow forgot to put in a little bit of clue to get things started.
I believe Julia Ducournau wanted to make a film about accepting the true nature of oneself. She tries to show that brutality and having mercy are two sides of the same coin. But to get to this image; you need to put three or four filtered glasses at first; because many useless things in Titane ruined the so-called message of the film.
The last thing I thought could bring this film to redemption was the cinematography. The main reason I like art-house and indie films is because of their unique cinematography. But unfortunately, Titane didn’t even have powerful cinematography.
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Titane is not worthy of Palma d’Or. I wish the film’s problems were minor but this film has significant and fundamental issues. Many plot holes, unfinished character arcs, and forgetting to describe what’s going on turn Titane into one of the weakest films of 2021. If it weren’t for Agathe Rousselle, I wouldn’t even bother to watch the movie until the end. In the end, I want to say don’t waste your time watching Titane because you will probably end up with a sour stomach and confused about what’s happening in the film.