Julia Ducournau’s sophomore feature won the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, an outcome that is nearly as shocking as the film itself, given the walkouts, fainting, and laughter it met at its premiere. Is Titane a trans allegory? A mishmash of David Cronenberg’s Crash and Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man? A well-calculated poke in the eye to the arthouse crowd? Or just a parable about how we all desperately need someone to love us?
Titane is all these things and more. A film with a trigger-warning list a mile long (this movie is not for those easily disturbed by violence, sexual or otherwise), “Titane is an essay, etched in rivulets of blood and oil, on the mutability of gender and the pliability of desire.” (Justin Chang, LA Times) Suffice it to say: if you can stomach it, Titane is the movie of the year.
“There are a lot of wild twists and turns in this movie, but underneath there’s a constant: the agony of being trapped inside of a human body, and the itchy, restless desire to transcend it.” (Katie Rife, AV Club)