• Golden Globe Awards

Titane (France)

The connection between sex and automobiles is as common to films as guns and love. Mostly inside the privacy of the metal coaches, sex scenes punctuate the history of films – with some unforgettable examples. In 1996, David Cronenberg adapted J. G Ballard’s novel Crash, exploring eroticism and pain in a subculture of victims of car crashes. In Ridley Scott’s controversial The Counselor (2013), Cameron Diaz has a long and detailed erotic encounter with a red Ferrari, pushing the boundaries of the already classic relationship.
Eight years later, filmmaker Julia Ducournau blew the borders with Titane – and left Cannes with a Palme d’Or. In her second film, Ducournau takes her favorite motif – body horror – further from her debut work, the controversial Raw. In Titane, her protagonist, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle, in her first professional acting role) has an uncontrollable desire for cars, the result of a terrible accident that left her with a titanium plate on her head. Substituting skin-to-skin for meta-to-metal, Ducournau rethinks the whole theme of sex and automobiles. “I use the grammar of body horror for sure,” Ducournau shared with the Los Angeles Times. “I like to divert the codes of horror, to divert the expectations of the audience. A lot.”
Not happy with moving the first boundary that sets up the narrative, Ducournau adds a second act with Alexia pregnant (who/what can possibly be the father?) and passing as a young man, while seeking refuge with a group of firefighters. “For me, what I thought is that if the audience can’t relate morally to her, then I’m going to make them relate to her body,” Ducournau added. “And her body was my entry point to create an umbilical cord between the audience and her, because I thought, ‘they’re going to feel what she feels.’”