Titanium – movie review [Nowe Horyzonty 2021]

Before the scientific community began to speculate about the presence of water on Titan and the microorganisms thought to thrive there, in the collective consciousness the name of Jupiter’s moon was most often associated with the proud generation of titans. from Greek mythology – the very one who cut off the testicles of her father, Uranus. It’s somewhere between life and death, neither asleep nor awake, in a bizarre terra incognita, ranging from mental illness to genital complex, that this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes seems to be growing up, Titanium. It’s hard to say unequivocally what the film is about; rather, it is a trance experience in which Deleuze’s image-time-movement axis collapses like a house of cards and the director… Julia Ducournau, author of the memorable MeatWith its ferocity of wit and its unceremonious mockery of our habits, social conventions or masculine fantasies, the film unleashes a narrative missile. More than parsing the plot floor and trying to sketch out the screen’s timeline of events, in this case we should focus on the fact that Titanium is a monstrous blow to our heads. Yes, some will score a hit and go out. For patients or those with nerves of steel, however, Ducournau has a reward. Morality ? Nothing of the sort. More like… a middle finger. And you will thank the creator.

Let’s face it: Titanium is one of the strongest films of recent years, which a sizable group of viewers will try to put in the drawer with the description “disgusting”. The director’s meticulously woven overview of the plots begins with a sequence in which the protagonist, Alexia, a little girl, makes her father, who drives a car, so angry that he loses control of the vehicle. A tragic accident, several shots showing the trepanation of the skull, the implantation of a titanium plate, a cut. The camera opens its eye twenty years later to the protagonist dancing and squirming on the hood of a car to the delight of sweaty, testosterone-filled men. Be careful, lust is called love here, and the body, although beautiful, is rather a perfectly camouflaged machine. Even one that… imbues, mimicking its sado-masochistic aura of lust with flickering lights and chassis motion. If you think sex with a car is the culmination of a journey into the fascinating mind of Ducournau, you couldn’t be more wrong. After all, the director presents us with a monstrous landscape of poetics of violence; sharp objects are stuck in the ear or the foot, the innocent biting of a nipple turns into a desire to tear it off, and there is no end to breaking one’s nose. However, the curtain for the Theater of the Absurd will be revealed for good later, when Alexia undergoes a visual makeover, posing as the son of Vincent, the fire captain, missing for years. Supported by the grotesque and psychological vivisection of the most serious cases, the roller coaster of intrigue does not think of stopping. But let’s do it; after all, it was no coincidence that Ducournau asked the Cannes audience not to tell anyone about what they saw in the film.

Diaphana Distribution/Kazak Productions

W Titanium Reality is not part of a chronological sequence of events, it first exteriorizes itself in the form of a pulsating rhythm, as hypnotic as it is compelling. It’s not even a paradox, but a constant clash of extremes, which allows the director to constantly break down the wall of gender constraints. In his narrative, Ducournau weaves the convention of body horror with melodrama and psychoanalysis in a postmodern way, seasoning this concoction with a pinch of borrowings from European history. Cronenberg and other masters of horror, to finally immerse him in the magnetic and disturbing universe of first-rate thrillers or works Alex Garland. It’s even better when the filmmaker leads her characters and, at the same time, the audience into the traps of habit; the familiar attitudes and behaviors of everyday life are ruthlessly exaggerated, though masculinity, in its broadest sense, is probably the hardest hit. The whole story first bombards, then exposes the fragility that lies at the foundation of macho tango. We are close to homoerotic rapture, as perfectly summed up by the scene showing the main character dancing in front of firefighters while posing as the captain’s son. Yes, some pages of the screenplay could have been taken directly from the feminist manifesto, but Ducournau’s concepts are a bit like owls to David Lynch: they are not what they seem. At the fundamental level Titanium is ultimately the story of monstrous trauma, a longing for closeness, and a relationship with the father that is difficult beyond measure. The character of the latter is an organism in its own right on which the author performs a complicated operation: on the one hand, she transforms him into a monster of Frankenstein, on the other hand, she shows that a broken family branch can still be saved by paternal love. After breaking the DNA structure, a titanium plate will be a perfect binder.

There is no single interpretation key for this production; to navigate a Freudian dream in which Lacanian mirrors await us and Jungian archetypes spring up everywhere, one would need a whole army of key bearers. After all, everything hangs here – between birth and the elephant walking through a china shop, the primal urges and longing for love, the mind-derailing illness and the attempt to reunite with a family. and a company. It is no coincidence that, at the heart of a world that seems to wander out of time, an equal sign is placed between humans and machines. We will also find deus ex machina, which will fit like a glove in the almost cyberpunk tone that shines brightly. I am convinced that the visual side Titanium will delight you with its brilliance and feast of colors, perfectly matched with a unique musical layer. You will hear pop culture hits and heavy metal sounds, which will be complemented over time by… “Macarena”. The soundtrack, by the way, is of paramount importance, because you don’t say much on the screen anymore. This turn of events is a blessing; it is thanks to her that the prima ballerina dances and bends her body in impossible poses. Agathe Rousselle (his screen debut!) takes on the story head-on, phenomenally combining his character’s inherent bestiality and deeply hidden innocence. Its capital Vincent Lindon (Vincent), whose character hovers on the border between the absurd and the deadly serious – for every thoughtful note he delivers, there’s a whole host of curiosities that resonate loudly.

Some of you will take this production as a chronicle of Transformers history struggling with unregulated sexual tension. Others still, in homage to all the wood runners of the cinema. Both will be partly right. The way the mind of Julia Ducournau works is utterly fascinating, it penetrates our hearts and minds after colliding with virtually every cell in the body and takes no prisoners. It is wonderfully refreshing that, in a world marked by a pandemic and grappling with many social unrests, originality and creativity are proving to be the best cures for the uncertainty of tomorrow. Those shown by the French director are first rate. The year 2021 without Titanium would have been much poorer; Ducournau tells us, ultimately, that an escape route has been mapped out for the gray everyday life of torn desires and disordered imaginations. This path is neon, sometimes bloody, but deep down the trek always has the same goals: either to find a counterpoint for oneself in another person, or to seek life in an apparent void only. Let’s give it a try on Titan.

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Titanium – movie review [Nowe Horyzonty 2021]