An automobile accident leaves disturbing consequences in this unflinching foray into human extremity from Julia Ducournau (Raw).
A violent automobile accident has left long-lasting repercussions: a child carries a titanium plate in their skull; a car-showroom model begins to exhibit sexual attraction to her wares; later, an unexpected pregnancy escalates to a horrific massacre; and a firefighter is reunited with a brutally bruised man who claims to be his long-lost son. As these episodes fuse in Julia Ducournau’s remarkable, Palme d’Or–winning follow-up to her memorable debut Raw (Midnight Madness ’16), a lurid premise emerges — one best discovered without any further expectations beyond the promise of exceptional performances, inspired provocations, and maverick filmmaking.
Those not watching between their fingers will risk cringing, as if right out of their bodies, in abject horror and hypnotic fascination as newcomer Agathe Rousselle embodies a palpable dysphoria that seethes with anguish and rage. Conversely, the ever-soulful Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man) exudes such empathetic desperation as a father seeking redemption that the film frequently achieves a transcendental sublimity — particularly during its infectious reveries of music and dance.
Fluidly exploring themes of sexuality, gender identity, and parenthood in tandem with Ducournau’s now-signature body-horror sensibilities and gory gallows humour, Titane is an unflinching foray to the very peaks (and depths) of human extremities. It is a Midnight masterpiece.
Buckle the fuck up.
Content advisory: sexual assault, explicit violence, nudity, physical trauma involving pregnancy