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Julia Ducournau's Palme d'Or winner "Titane" seeks paradise by the dashboard light

Starring Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, Myriem Akheddiou, Garance Marillier and Laïs Salameh. Written and directed by Julia Ducournau. Opens Oct. 1 at TIFF Bell Lightbox and Cineplex theatres. 148 minutes. R


Peter Howell

Movie Critic

“Jump in the Cadillac, girl, let’s put some miles on it,” Bruno Mars sings in “That’s What I Like." But he's not thinking of something as literal and as transgressive as "Titane."

Julia Ducournau's Cronenbergian Palme d'Or winner from Cannes 2021 is the story of a dancer, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), whose obsession with cars leads to exceedingly strange behaviour — and with outcomes straight out of sci-fi horror and extreme romances.

Alexia, a misanthropic loner, gets jiggy with a Caddy and finds herself with an unbelievable problem.

This may be, incredibly, the least of her concerns. She has a titanium plate in her head, the result of a childhood car crash, which may or may not be related to her compulsion to commit random acts of murder.

To conceal her crimes, she adopts the identity of a long-missing child, who would now be about her age. She'll have to convince the child's grieving father, Vincent (Vincent Lindon), a firefighter with serious body-image issues of his own.

"Titane" is everything you've heard, and more. It doesn't brake for the squeamish.

But it's not so shocking if you've seen "Raw," the writer/director's arresting first feature.

Ducournau is a vital talent, a filmmaker of mad vision and uncanny power. I think, though, that her best is still to come.

Henry Ford's ghost just had a heart attack.




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