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Film / Titane

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Titane (French for "titanium") is a 2021 film directed by Julia Ducournau (of Raw fame) and starring Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon.

As a child, Alexia is gravely wounded in a car accident and gets a titanium prosthesis in her head. As an adult, she becomes an exotic dancer with a, shall we say, fascination for cars - and a serial killer to boot. Forced to flee from the police, she assumes the identity of the long-lost son of a fire chief.

The film won the Palme d'Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, making Ducournau the second female director to win the award - and the first to win it solo. (Jane Campion won in 1993 for The Piano, which was tied with Farewell My Concubine.) Additional attention was drawn to the film's victory due to a mistake made by that year's jury president, Spike Lee, who misunderstood a question at a press conference and accidentally revealed Titane as the Palme d'Or winner well before the official announcement.

This film contains examples of:

  • Alien Blood: When she’s pregnant, Alexia’s blood becomes black like engine oil, adding to the horror and strangeness of what’s happening to her.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Hinted at a bit with Alexia, as the only (human) characters she shows consensual attraction to are other women.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Vincent's injections. An injection in the muscle does not cause the immediate whole-body reaction shown, it takes time to get into the bloodstream and from there to spread and have its effect.
  • Asshole Victim: The stalker in the beginning.
  • Auto Erotica: Played with, in that Alexia actually has sex with cars, not just in them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alexia finally finds love and warmth with someone, while Vincent gets over the loss of his son and recognizes her for who she is. Just before Alexia dies in childbirth, with only her baby surviving.
  • Black Comedy: Alexia's sheer frustration as things get out of hand will elicit a few chuckles. Then you remember what got out of hand was a mass murder.
  • Body Horror: Alexia's unconventional pregnancy has some pretty horrific effects upon her body. For starters, she first notices it when motor oil begins secreting from her vagina.
  • Breast Attack: Alexia pulls hard on Justine's nipple piercing, twice.
  • Call-Back: Garance Marillier plays a woman named Justine again. Unlike Raw, she got murdered. Then there is firefighter's son whose name is Adrien.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Played straight when Alexia is taught to use it on a woman who's having a stroke. Averted at the end when Vincent attempts it on Alexia and fails.
  • Death by Childbirth: Alexia dies by giving birth to her human/car hybrid at the end.
  • Death by Irony: Alexia is a serial killer who dies while bringing life into the world.
  • Death by Sex: What usually happen to Alexia’s partners, male or female. While the first guy she kills on screen tried to assault her and comes off more as an Asshole Victim, she kills Justine for no apparent reason while they are making out.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Implied. Having started the film as a Serial Killer who kills for no real reason, Alexia is shown getting increasingly emotional for the first time throughout her pregnancy, culminating when she shows genuine fear and love for Vincent as she gives birth.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Alexia is a Serial Killer who's shown having sex with a woman, kissing men, and...having sex with a car.
  • Fan Disservice: Played with. Alexia’s dance moves are depicted as sexy and alluring when she’s clothed, but her nude scenes are utterly devoid of sexiness and become increasingly gruesome as the film goes on.
  • Family of Choice: Alexia has grown up with a disdainful father and an absentee mother. Vincent was more of a father to her than her real one.
  • Freudian Excuse: Alexia's incredibly strained relationship with her biological parents are invoked, along with her permanent childhood injury, as part of her increasingly erratic behavior.
  • The Ghost: The real Adrien never appears and we never know what actually happened to him. The film is focused on Alexia and Vincent’s relationship as the impersonator and the grieving father.
  • Good Parents: Judging by past photos of real Adrien, Vincent is open-minded to his son's possible gender nonconformity.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The child Alexia gives birth to at the end: A half human, half car baby, whose body appears to have skin scales of titanium.
  • Hate Sink: The "fan" who stalks Alexia and sexually assaults her gets what is coming to him and, in his brief scene, comes across as far more despicable than the serial murdering Alexia.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: Alexia's job during the first part of the film. She's apparently very popular.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence
  • Loony Fan: One of Alexia's victims is a male fan who fell in love with her and kissed her without consent.
  • Mental Handicap, Moral Deficiency: Alexia's murderous impulses are implied to have started when she and her father got in a car accident when she was a child, and there's a lot of focus on the metal plate in her head as she feels her will to kill growing. The film makes note of focusing on, as Alexia gives birth, the titanium side of her skull splitting open on her final push, killing her.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Alexia is pregnant throughout most of the film after having sex with a car. Said pregnancy seems to develop at an accelerated (no pun intended) rate. She gives birth at the end of the film.
  • The Oner: The sequence following the title. The tracking shot follows Alexia choosing a vehicle to dance. It ends when a fan asked Alex for a photo after her dance routine on the car.
  • Parents Know Their Children: Vincent's estranged wife immediately twigs to the fact that Alexia is not Adrien. Vincent, on the other hand, is willing to go along with it.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Alexia at the end.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Vincent is perfectly aware that Alexia is not her son, but he misses him so much he’s willing to pretend anyway. His wife is understandably disturbed when she finds out.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Alexia murders both her biological parents by locking them in their room after setting the house on fire.
  • Serial Killer: Alexia.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Asshole Victim who apparently has been following Alexia from show to show working up the nerve to profess his feelings, forcefully.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Alexia assumes the identity of Adrien Legrand, long-lost son of fire chief Vincent.
  • Self-Immolation: Vincent attempts this half-heartedly but changes his mind after setting his shirt on fire.
  • Womb Horror: A lot of emphasis is given to Alexia's breasts leaking engine oil and her as she gives birth to it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Alexia is a murderous psychopath. Though she seems to have changed her ways by the end of the film.
  • Your Door Was Open: Alexia would have less trouble if she would just lock the door any time she undressed.