Creative and original, this French animation meditates on personal loss with eye-popping visuals, but never quite reaches any significant emotional peak.
Dir. Jeremy Clapin
2019 | France | Animation/Drama/Fantasy | 81 mins | 2.35:1 | French & English
M18 (passed clean) for some sexual references
Cast: Hakim Faris, Victoire Du Bois, Patrick d’Assumçao
Plot: A story of Naoufel, a young man who is in love with Gabrielle. In another part of town, a severed hand escapes from a dissection lab, determined to find its body again.
Awards: Won Critics’ Week Grand Prize, Nom. for Camera d’Or (Cannes); Nom. for Best Animated Feature (Oscars)
International Sales: Charades (SG: Netflix)
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Audience Type: Slightly Arthouse
The French do produce good animation year after year, but very few make it to the Oscars, and even fewer make it internationally in the mass market.
So, a film like I Lost My Body, an original animation in French that is distributed by Netflix, might possess the marketing reach that has long since confined foreign animation (with the exception of Japanese anime of course) to one or two festival screenings.
Nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (though Klaus, the other Netflix-acquired animation shortlisted, stands a better chance to topple Toy Story 4), I Lost My Body centers on a lonely, possibly guilt-ridden young man who finds himself smitten by a librarian.
“Once you’ve dribbled past fate, what do you do?”
Running parallel to this is the journey of a severed human hand roaming the city—whilst fending off pesky rodents and killer traffic—in a desperate attempt to return to its body.
Alternating between the macabre and the wistful, Jeremy Clapin’s more adult-leaning feature debut is both creative and original, featuring eye-popping visuals that you can’t look away from.
As it meditates on personal loss and the desire for emotional intimacy—perhaps as symbolically represented by the detached hand—the film never quite reaches any significant emotional peak despite its multilayered conflation of memory, reality and imagination that builds up to some kind of amalgamating climax.
Still, I Lost My Body will intrigue animation fans looking for something different and strange, and is a real treat for the senses.