This past week, Titane was released in theaters. Directed by Julia Ducornua, this film is a masterful display of a woman, Alexia (Agathe Rouselle), and her journey of becoming pregnant through chance circumstances.
In the beginning of the film, we discover Alexia is a stripper that had a metal plate put in her head as a child after a tragic car accident. She starts out in the film dancing in a nightclub, but because of the metal plate in her head, she is attracted to cars. Because of this, she has a sexual encounter with one of the cars she finds at work. Later in the story, she finds out that she is pregnant but doesn’t understand how. Alexia finds her stomach getting bigger, which makes her go crazy. The anger she feels causes her to go on a tirade, murdering a house full of people she’s staying with in a wild course of events.
This action forces her to have to flee from the city she resides in. She changes the way she looks by shaving off her hair and eyebrows, even going as far as breaking her own nose. She ends up getting tracked down by the police, but they can’t identify her due to the changes. The police are then led to believe that she is the lost son of a fire captain in the area. They ask the Captain (Vincent Lindon) to come in and identify Alexia. He reluctantly says yes, as he holds on to any shred of hope that his son, Adrien, has been found.
The fire captain takes in Alexia thinking that she is Adrien. He treats her as if she is his son and loves her as such. Alexia struggles with this at first, and tries several times to kill him so that she can escape, but as the story goes on, she becomes more and more dependent on Victor, the fire captain, for survival as she battles to stay alive through her pregnancy.
As time goes on, Alexia becomes adopted into the daily practices of the firefighters: saving people from medical crises and saving people from burning buildings. Through this, she garners trust not only from Victor, but she learns to trust and love Victor. One of the firefighters, Rayane (Lais Salame), becomes suspicious of Alexia and discovers her true identity as well as the fact that she is wanted for murder in her home city. Rayane is never given the chance to warn Victor that she isn’t who she says she is, or it is possible the captain already knew and just didn’t care. Whatever the case, he continues to house her as her pregnancy becomes progressively worse and worse. The “baby” starts to claw its way through her stomach until she finally has to do something about it growing in her.
This film is wildly gory and explicit in its displays of sex and violence. However, that’s not to say the movie isn’t cinematically appealing. The camerawork in this film is worlds above any other new horror/thriller film in its class. It’s a prestigious, artsy film with the story of a horror movie, which is what sets it apart from any other horror film. This movie, although deeply disturbing and horrifyingly graphic, is very appealing to watch solely because of its creative camerawork as well as cinematography. The acting is worlds above any other horror movie in its class. Rouselle delivers a timeless display of tragedy as she tries to work her way through a truly terrible circumstance. She is what makes the movie so horrifying and her willingness to lay all of her cards out on the table help create a masterful performance and a truly interesting film. The acting is so good you forget that the actors are speaking a completely different language than you.
The movie lacks consensus within its plot at points and continuity is lost in some places, which makes it especially hard when you’re watching a foreign language film, but not so much that you become so lost that you can’t understand the plot as a whole. This film is most definitely one that you want to keep your eyes glued to the screen, yet it’s hard to stomach some of the graphic displays of violence and gore. The main thing that truthfully sticks out about this film is the way in which the plot moves forward despite being so starkly horrific. This is due to some amazing acting as well as some timeless cinema that goes beyond any horror film that has come before it.