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Full metal modification – Titane (BFI London Film Festival Review)

2 min read
Titane - ©Carole_Bethuel

One the films that is guaranteed to shock you at more than one moment, this is the film that dares to go the whole nine yards without breaking a sweat. Made up of several parts, horror, thriller even fantasy if you can call sex with a car fantastical, the film and its creator know no bounds. Shrouded in mystery before it was shown at Cannes Film Festival, it would be a disservice to the film and the creators to reveal too much now.

Following a series of strange, violent and unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with his child who went missing years previously. But there are secrets bubbling just below the surface of this family that are just waiting to explode.

Alexia is an enigma, barely speaking from start to finish, she says more with her body, expressions and her actions. The look in her eye when she is about strike is menacing, even when in actuality, she's demonstrating weakness. But it is in the last few moments of the film where we can see that she is just girl who is scared, she shows her vulnerability as she finally has bowed down to strange body mutilations that have always been a part of her.

It is not an underestimation when it is said that you will never guess where this film takes you. From the adrenalin pumping beginning complete with a seductive dance, where Alexis, our soon to be infamous protagonist, reveals just how much she loves that vehicle, to the minding bending and physically painful conclusion. It feels like a vein attempt to view this film being full of metaphors than to except the story, the world and all the characters places within. It seems more natural to absorb yourself into Ducournau's mind and go along for the hell-bent ride. Although most might focus on the explicit scenes at the start, filled with blood, saliva, car oil and the frequent use of one mental spike, it is the later part of the film where the story focuses on body modification. Whether this is by choice or a freak twist of nature. The main characters are brought together, looking for that connection which they had been missing and needing for most of their lives. There is an actual heart at the centre of this story, believe it or not.

A film of two halves, the first being the most bizarre and out of boxing thinking to be awarded the coveted Palme d'Or. But the latter half is profound, heart sopping and in equal part as bizarre as the first but this time feels more like the story that would receive standing ovations. But without the context and adrenalin inducing beginning the ending to this magnificent film would lose its impactful end.


Titane will be released on 31 December

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