Titane

Titane ★★★★★

J.G. Ballard reborn for our gender transitory moment. It isn’t body horror, it’s violent bloody body awakening. A rage against the limitations of a body that dare house such an expansive mind. We will hammer and harden and repress and exploit and fuck and love and murder and dream our way into new modes of physical being. We sing the ensuing body. The body future, crafted, molded, inflamed. Even as the body fights back. Even as the body ultimately decides how the mind lives and how the mind dies. We fight to be who we are inside and out.

I’ll be watching every single movie Agathe Rousselle is in from here on out until the day I die. I will start a church to Agathe Rouselle. Where nature has been burned by fire, there I will go, strip naked beneath the great smokey sky, masturbate to the idea of her, then I will smear a mixture of the charcoaled earth and my own semen over my naked spent form, smear it into my mouth. “Come to me,” I will beg the dying gods of the changing world, “Come to me, Agathe Rousselle. Fuck my body and then murder me, lop off my head, like insect lovers do.” This has to be the most insanely watchable performance in a modern film since, I don’t even fucking know. It’s an incredibly inhabited act of becoming and being from scene to scene.

And for those of us who saw Julia Ducournau’s ‘RAW’ and thought, “Eh, doesn’t go hard enough or become interesting enough. What a waste of a good premise.” We just got dunked on by Ducournau who takes a scorched earth tactic to storytelling this time out. The expansive growth in tonal control, narrative courage, and sheer fucking balls out insanity is immense. I can’t believe I almost didn’t see this because I wasn’t that impressed with ‘RAW’. Artists grow, ya’ll, and the audience changes too.

This is the very first film I chose to see in the theater since I saw ‘FIRST COW’ some two years ago (my last theater experience before the pandemic hit). I checked the seat placements before I bought tickets to see how crowded the theater was. I’m still not ready to be around crowds. I was one of six people in a large theater, so I went for it. Two of those people walked out before the first act was done. Ironically, the first act is a true exercise in making the audience deeply uncomfortable - they left just as the film was about to settle into a more steady, authentic, human gaze. To each their own cinema, but I cannot tell you how excited I am that my first time back in a theater was for a movie that audience members felt they needed to walk out of.

Also, I saw this and Georges Franju’s ‘EYES WITHOUT A FACE’ back-to-back in the same day and maybe I’m projecting similar themes on them because of their proximity in my viewing schedule, but damn if I didn’t see similar themes in them. Identity shifting, complicated ephemerally sexualized father-daughter dynamics, the idea of the transformative body.

If I have a complaint, I guess it would be that our protagonist strengths and weaknesses and what she will and will not allow to happen in her space and to her body seems to shift in ways that are too often plot driven instead of character centric. But, hey, people are like that, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, once-and-a-while murderous, more often tender.

I haven’t seen a lot of current movies this year, and the ones I have seen were more out of convenience than passion, but this is the top of the heap so far.

Also, the movie is really fucking funny. I've been watching movies alone and in my own home for ages now and have become a real fucking emoter. Laughing, cheering, gasping. I became self-conscious in the theater as I laughed out loud a lot at this. Like Alexia, I am not fit for this world. (Just kidding, I'm nothing like Alexia. I'm just another boring ass middle aged man.)

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