Titane ★★★★

When I saw Titane at Cannes I was horrified, invigorated, baffled, and beguiled. Still, I wondered if those feelings would exist on a second viewing. Knowing as little as possible going in (other than you'll need a stomach of steel to get through the first 30 minutes), Titane hangs you out to dry in a mysterious air, turns on the turbines, and lets the wind beat you up. But once you know all the oddities that occur and the surprises are gone is there anything left? I'm somewhat happy to report yes and no. Its singular theme—of the horrors of unconditional love—shines through from the start. A secondary layer on gender remains excitingly fluid and elusive. But when the magic of where is this going?! from the initial viewing dissipates, I found that it reduced my volume of exhilaration more than expected. It's so pronounced on the first viewing, it would be downright impossible to maintain on a second go. However, my discomfort from the body horror elements remained so incredibly strong. And so too do the small moments of attempted connection—and attempted isolation on another plane of existence—through dance and music. See this in the loudest theater possible. (If you can.)

Titane is without a doubt a worthy and exciting Palme d'Or winner. Its world premiere and the award ceremony reception were perfectly fraught and intense. However, my instincts that it might lose just a little bit without being able to repeat the initial shocks and narrative mystery, did play out for me. Mesmerizing and uniquely singular.

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