The Cannes Film Festival, officially named Film de Cannes, is an annual film festival held in France. The festival started in 1946 for the recognition of artistic achievement in the film industry. It is a central location where film industry professionals worldwide can come together to exchange ideas, critique each other’s work, and present their work.
Since the beginning, the festival has produced films that otherwise may have never been seen due to their controversial nature. This year’s winner is no exception. The film titled Titane is about a woman who has a sexual relationship with a Cadillac. As you can probably glean from the premise, this would be a hard sell at any other venue other than Cannes. However, Cannes has a reputation for taking in the unusual and injecting it into the mainstream. Let’s take a look at how this film won such high accolades at the festival.
Cannes winners of the past
Cannes certainly doesn’t shy away from controversy. For example, Vogue reported in 2002, Gaspar Noe’s violent thriller Irreversible caused audience members to faint. Another notable film named The Brown Bunny caused controversy for a different reason. A particularly sexual scene between Vincent Gallo and Chloe Sevigny may have crossed the line, even for Cannes standards.
The festival’s top honor is the highly coveted Palme d’Or. This is the award given to the best director at the festival. The winner is expected to give an acceptance speech in front of festival-goers. However, sometimes the acceptance speech is met with a chorus of boos. Audiences at the festival are not afraid to show their distaste if a film wins when they feel it wasn’t deserved. It is a long-standing tradition for audiences to let their voice be heard either in the form of applause or jeers as the credits roll.
‘Titane’ is this year’s Cannes winner
The winner of this year’s Palme d’Or was Julia Ducournau with her film titled Titane, who incidentally is only the second female director in the festival’s history to win the prestigious award. The film is about a woman who has an affair and is impregnated by a Cadillac car. The film begins with a woman being involved in a car crash. After she has a metal plate placed in her head, she begins to have sexual feelings for the car.
After having relations with a car, she becomes pregnant and tries to destroy the hybrid child growing inside. She then poses as the adult version of a boy who went missing a decade ago and moves in with the boy’s father. Not exactly blockbuster material, to be sure, but it sure got the attention of Cannes festival-goers and could be well on its way to becoming an internationally acclaimed film.
Reception of ‘Titane’ by critics and audiences
The film received positive reviews from film critics and audiences alike. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 96%, and Metacritic gave it 74 out of 100. One critic from Collider claims, “A bizarre, funny, tender, sexy, gory movie about transformations and human connections that prove that Vin Diesel does not and should not get the monopoly on movies about fast cars and found family.”
Titane is a film that certainly follows the Cannes formula of unusual, controversial, and sometimes downright bizarre award winners. It’s hard to imagine a more outrageous premise for a movie. However, Titane ticks all the boxes and promises to be an entertaining and unusual film that likely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but certainly stays far away from the mundane.