Director Julia Ducournau has enjoyed a truly monumental year of filmmaking, becoming only the second woman ever to win the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival with her film, Titane. Following in the footsteps of the great Jane Campion who was the first to receive the award in 1993 for The Piano, Ducournau has laid down a serious marker in the landscape of contemporary cinema.
“Women kicked serious ass this year,” she noted in an extensive interview with The Guardian, pointing to the likes of creative masters Chloé Zhao, Audrey Diwan and Alina Grigore in the respective films, Nomadland, Happening and Blue Moon. Ducournau comments that her Cannes win “was incredibly powerful to me. Through this prize, a lot was happening. It took 28 years [since Campion’s win] and I believe it’s not going to take 28 years again”.
A provocative film that explicitly explores the violence and sexual exploits of a troubled young woman, Julia Ducournau’s Titane is a powerful piece of cinema that ultimately materialises as a very human tale of mortality, despite its sinister exterior. As Ducournau indeed explains, “I feel that my film talks about humanity very much…It’s the only thing it talks about”.
Titane is an enigmatic and personal tale, with the filmmaker adding, “Everything comes from something very personal – I’m not going to tell you what, but I can tell you that I’m everywhere in my films. None of them are autobiographical, but it all stems from something that I have in me”.
Only her second feature film following her impressive feature film debut with Raw in 2016, Ducournau is establishing herself as one of the most interesting and expressive filmmakers working today.
As she concludes, “Everything I do comes from such a deep, sincere and loving place in me – it also obviously has my energy. If we got to hang out tonight and have a drink, it would probably feel it matches what you see in the film because I have a lot of energy to spare”.