New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

‘Titane’ is feral and wildly original cinema

- Photos and text from wire services

“Titane” is a shock to the system. Unbound by genre, decency or form, French writer-director Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or recipient is pulsating and passionate­ly defiant cinema that nearly defies explanatio­n. Or at least explanatio­n can hardly do it justice (neither does a simple R rating); this is just something that needs to be experience­d. I can’t promise that you’ll like it, but I’m not even certain the concept of like and dislike even apply to “Titane.” And don’t worry, even with the unhinged violence and gore, there’s been no reports yet of fainting in any “Titane” screenings, as was the case with her first

film “Raw.”

The film begins with its focus on a girl, Alexia, who gets a titanium plate in her head after a car crash and quickly develops a lust for cars. We move to an adult Alexia, played by the beguiling Agathe Rousselle, who is a dancer in her 30s doing a job that involves writhing sensually in neon fishnets atop a muscle car adorned with flames. A fan follows her into the parking lot and when he forces himself on her, she kills him. To come down from the incident, she, well, makes love to a car.

Neither the killing nor the fling with the car are isolated incidents for Alexia. In addition to sometimes having to defend herself from predators, she is also apparently a serial killer whose weapon of choice is the single metal chopstick she

uses to pin her hair back. This is all captivatin­g enough and set to a poppy, decadejump­ing soundtrack that could inspire some jealousy from Quentin Tarantino.

The oddest and perhaps most shocking thing about the whole experience of “Titane,” which again, includes impregnati­on by a vehicle, is that somehow you come to feel for Alexia and Vincent and their strange connection in spite of everything. It doesn’t all work, but “Titane” is a messy, provocativ­e and wild piece with attitude and style that is never uninterest­ing.

“Titane,” a Neon release in theaters Friday, is rated R by the Motion Picture Associatio­n of America for language, graphic nudity, disturbing material, sexual content and strong violence. Running time: 104 minutes.

 ?? Associated Press ?? This image released by Neon shows Agathe Rousselle in a scene from the film, “Titane.”
Associated Press This image released by Neon shows Agathe Rousselle in a scene from the film, “Titane.”

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