Titane ★★★★★

Believe the hype. 

If there is anyone more fit to hate this film going into it, that someone is me. Having absolutely loathed Raw for how bland, boring and derivative it was, I was weary going into this film as well having heard similar praise. Well I’m happy to report Raw has officially completely been vanished, it never existed, it’s a huge Mandela effect, this is Julia Ducournau’s debut. I have a hard time even finding the words to remotely adequately convey how truly brilliant its story and presentation is but I can surely try. 

I am always fascinated by the way women-directed films depict the human body. Think the carefully built physique of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho - where fragile masculinity is interconnected with the male body - or the clashing shirtless bodies of soldiers on Beau Travail - where affection is replaced by cold splashes of violent touch. While I sometimes enjoy the escapism of hyper-machismo in action films, I alway feel more seen by the deconstruction of that in women-directed films, like You Were Never Really Here. It’s something I only ever notice in films directed by women, very rarely ever seeing it in male-directed films. It’s this quality that makes Titane truly one of a kind. It is a fluid, poignant exploration of masculinity, femininity and everything inbetween in their relation to the human body. 

We see a hyper-feminized, almost male-gazey dance at the beginning of the film, strongly contrasted with flashing shirtless bodies ala Beau Travail later in the film. Both extreme, violent even expressions of sexuality, vulgar as can be. Yet the most liberating expression becomes the bridging between the two. The film almost explores the Jungian concept of an Anima, even literalizing it at certain points. I’ll admit, writing through this I realize I do not have the credentials to even write about this film. I am just… bewildered and amazed. Everything I’d heard about the film is true. It is thought provoking, exciting, genuinely a game changer. Truly genre-less, yet always laser-focused in everything it does. It is everything Raw was missing - it has heart, confidence, boldness, creativity and a style that is absolutely distinctive but not distractingly idiosyncratic. It actually feels like a Julia Doucornau film and not just a Denis/Cronenberg imitation. So please, if you could, let’s stop with the Cronenberg comparisons because this film has EARNED to be out in a league of its own.

At once both sweet and shocking, it might seem like it would lean towards one side or the other but it’s always intertwining - it cannot be one without the other. It is a marvel of a film, the kind of film that makes me believe in the power of film again and I fucking love it. I wish I can one day gather my thoughts in a better way but hey this’ll have to do for now. 


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