I Lost My Body


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

I Lost My Body
"The fingerprints left behind by us an upon us as we go through life are considered by Jérémy Clapin's animated feature debut." | Photo: Courtesy of La Semaine de la Critique

The fingerprints left behind by us an upon us as we go through life are considered by Jérémy Clapin's animated feature debut, which is an eccentric combination of the conventional and the left-field whose mood eventually coalesces into a feeling of profound melancholy and a yearning for companionship. In case you were wondering, it's definitely not for children.

The person - or rather object - that has lost their body in the physical sense of the phrase, is a right hand that could be a distant cousin of The Addams Family's Thing. Although, loss in Clapin's film, which is based on the book Happy Hand by Guillaume Laurant, and the desire to regain what has been lost, extend well beyond the physical.

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We meet the hand trapped in a bag in a lab after becoming unfortunately detached from its owner Naoufel (Hakim Faris or Dev Patel if you go for the English dub) in circumstances that won't be spelled out until deep into the film, and soon embark upon a strange odyssey with it as it tries to get back to him.

The hand is fully sentient, remarkably resourceful and as well as, apparently, being able to see its way around, it also casts its mind back to key moments in Naoufel's life - from a childhood in monochrome to an unfulfilled life as a pizza delivery guy and a chance intercom encounter with young librarian Gabrielle (Victoire Du Bois or Alia Shawkat) that might just change all that. Through the course of the narrative, the animation subtly but regularly draws our attention to the hand in question and its part in Naoufel's existence.

Now detached, there's a creepiness to some of the hand's adventures and danger is never far away but there's also the same longing for connection in the way it reaches out to clutch a baby's hand that it encounters that we see in Naoufel's intricate - some might say borderline stalker-like - attempt at courtship with Gabrielle. This latter element also shows how the young man shares a stoic determination with the limb that we will ultimately see him lose. Some of the mood shifts are a bit of a lurch, with the film's gorier moments ill at ease with its generally more poetic tone but there's a grip to this that extends well beyond the hand to something closer to the soul.

Reviewed on: 02 Jan 2020
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A cut-off hand escapes from a dissection lab with one crucial goal: to get back to its body. As it scrambles through the pitfalls of Paris, it remembers its life with the young man it was once attached to… until they met Gabrielle.

Director: Jérémy Clapin

Writer: Jérémy Clapin, Guillaume Laurant

Starring: Voices of, Victoire Du Bois, Patrick d'Assumçao, Hakim Faris

Year: 2019

Runtime: 81 minutes

Country: France

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