Julia Ducournau’s debut feature, Raw, used cannibalism as a metaphor for puberty but went so hard on said cannibalism that some early audience members passed out. Even so — or perhaps as a result — the French writer-director walked away from the 2016 Cannes Film Festival with a Parallel Sections Prize from the International Federation of Film Critics and a fledgling reputation as a brilliant, stone-cold freak. This year, Ducournau is back at Cannes with her highly anticipated second film, Titane, the first trailer for which dropped this morning.
Both the teaser and the plot synopsis are almost unbelievably vague in a way that only a director of extreme French body horror could pull off. Neon describes the film in Webster’s Dictionary terms: “TITANE: A metal highly resistant to heat and corrosion, with high tensile strength alloys, often used in medical prostheses due to its pronounced biocompatibility.” The trailer, which is somehow even more opaque, stars Agathe Rousselle as a woman who, hmmm, once had titanium (?) plates implanted in her skull (?) and now grinds up on cars, eats paper napkins, beats people up on her couch (?), stabs people to death with a long metal implement, is being violently pursued and/or is violently pursuing a man played by Vincent Lindon, and also enjoys dancing in basement clubs. The whole thing feels very Joachim Trier’s Thelma meets Gaspar Noe’s Climax meets Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings”; hopefully, it will induce unconsciousness yet again as it competes for the Palme d’Or on the Croisette this summer.