Titanium magazine – love under the hood

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Protagonist Alexia (first-time actress Agathe Rousselle channeling punk gloom and runway height beautifully) may be a serial killer who has been imbued with a car, but she’s no different from most. of us – angry, hurt, defensive, fiery. It doesn’t matter if the bodies pile up as long as she’s receiving affection, and whether she’s dressed as a woman or a man (as she is for most of the movie)?

The same goes for Fire Chief Vincent (Vincent Lindon), self-anointed god for his men, who thinks Alexia is his long-lost son but isn’t too baffled when he sees her breasts and baby. bump. As Joe E. Brown says at the end of Some like it hot, “Well, no one is perfect.”

First seen as a gnomic kid (Adèle Guigue) strapped to the back of the car driven by her real father (filmmaker Bertrand Bonello), a doctor, and kicking her seat for attention, Alexia causes an accident which breaks her skull. She is fitted with a titanium plate above her right ear, the steel scaffolding needed to hold her head together being her crown of thorns. (In the photo above: Adele Guigue)

A quarter of a century later, Alexia still lives at home and works as an erotic dancer at the Paris motor shows. A stalker, his dancing girlfriend Justine (Garance Marillier), and her roommates trigger Alexia’s murderous rage and she goes on the run. Alexia becomes Adrien when, after seeing the digitally aged face of a teenager who disappeared 10 years ago, she cuts her hair and bandages her breasts.

Vincent’s refusal to have the new Adrien’s DNA tested indicates how much he needs to fill the void in his life, a macho masquerade that he maintains by taking steroids. Devoted to Adrien’s paternity, but resistant to the idea of ​​being treated, Vincent is uncomfortable enlisting him to administer the needle in his butt. The suspicion of sexual attraction between them – and this is one of Ducournau’s masterpieces – is hardly more of a taboo subject for Vincent than the threat hanging over his fatherly role.

In addition to the story of Christ, Ducournau cited as an influence the Greek myth of the Titans and Titanides, the grumpy offspring of Gaia (Earth) and her son and husband Uranus (Heaven). Titanium shares the same flippant attitude towards polymorphous perversity as the myth makers.

In his first feature film in 2016 Raw, an equally Cronenbergian coming-of-age drama that also has an Adrien, an Alexa, and a Justine, Ducournau used cannibalism as a metaphor to dominate female sexual desire. Cheated with flashier sets, Titanium superficially recalls the current of French cinema that emerged in the 1980s when Jean-Jacques Beineix and Luc Besson abandoned the realism that dominated the films of the previous decade for an elegant, richly tinted (and sometimes ridiculous) neo-noir stylization. Corn TitaniumThe artifice of ‘does not cost him viscerality or give him the impression of being derivative. (In the photo above: Vincent Lindon.)

Ducournau directs him to heightened realism for bizarre sequences depicting Vincent and his men at work – fighting a wildfire, exploring a misty moor. The prevailing atmosphere, however, is a dream camp (if not trivially), as when cinematographer Ruben Impens backlit with Adrien and Vincent in fuchsia pink disco dancing to Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and then a crowd. muscular firefighters boogie ferociously at the “lighthouse” of the Futures Islands. Lifted high by her comrades in this last scene, Alexia breaks free by demonstrating her libidinous female dance moves – her Sermon on the Mount – in front of them.

They prove to be as reactionary in their conditioning as the teenagers who had previously harassed a young woman sitting opposite Alexia on a bus with their porn-fueled fantasies; she was dressed as Adrien, but the woman saw through her disguise and silently appealed to his empathy as a teammate suffering from filth. This trail of men confining Alexia doesn’t tone down the celebration of the genre in the film. Nothing, in fact, attenuates its visual and thematic harmony or the warmth of its message.


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