Titane has won the top award at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
The film described by critics as an outlandish film packed full of sex and violence is by 37-year-old director Julie Ducournau, who is only the second woman to receive the Palme d’Or and the first female to win it alone.
Described as a “body horror” movie and based around a character with a titanium plate in her head, the film, which is Ducournau’s second feature, tells the story of a young female killer who has sex with cars after surviving a childhood crash.
Ducournau had previously found critical success with Raw in 2016. The only previous female winner of Cannes’ top award was Jane Campion who shared the prize in 1993 for The Piano.
The world’s biggest film festival returned to the French Riviera after a 2020 hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Titane had split critical opinion and has been described as one of the most shocking ever shown at the festival.
“This evening has been perfect because it’s been imperfect,” said Ducournau of the award, which had been prematurely revealed by US director Spike Lee at the beginning of Saturday’s ceremony.
The jury president let the big secret slip, before telling the audience: “I apologise for messing up.”
Cannes was the first full-scale film festival to take place since the start of the pandemic.Last year’s event was cancelled. The last film to take the Palme d’Or was Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite in 2019, which later swept the award circuit and won Best Picture at the 2020 Academy Awards.