From my very limited knowledge of French cinema, I have come to the conclusion that France is very good at making these very esoteric, plotless kind of conflictless films, while still making them emotional and engaging.
And I Lost My Body is a pretty good example. The film follows a disembodied hand on its journey through the streets of Paris, interspersed with flashbacks about its human. That part, admittedly, is kind of boring. Visually, it’s fascinating and the music is lovely, but it’s hard to feel anything for the hand at first.
You don’t know anything about it.
And then we have the life story of Naoufel; as a child he loved playing the piano and desired to be an astronaut. Because this is a French film, everything kind of falls to shit after his parents are killed in a car crash. Naoufel is forced to live with his uncle and cousin and as an adult make ends meet as a pizza delivery boy.
He isn’t very good and is miserable, until he speaks to Gabrielle during a delivery run and goes searching to find a way to be part of her life.
The rest of the movie follows him pursuing her, getting a job as a woodworker with her uncle.
and to the incident that causes him to lose his hand. And on a personal level, I’m not really crazy about plots where somebody pursues their love interest, who they don’t know, and lie about themselves. And the lengths Naoufel goes to…are kind of crazy.
I’m not particularly fond of him as a character and how he falls in love with a woman he’s only spoken to over an intercom. But while I dislike this direction, I still have to the concept of the movie is fascinating and the hand, is like a separate character all on its own.
The animation allows you to ‘see’ from the hand’s perspective as though it can view and think and feel. I wouldn’t quite call it human, but it’s alive and conscious. And the way it’s animated, with the fingers moving to walk like a spider is kind of fascinating to watch. The hand leaps, hides and swims.
It’s great. But, I guess, I wasn’t quite sure what the stakes were at the time and I spent my time wondering who the hand belonged to and why it was trying to return. Which in hindsight, was probably the point.
The film comes to an unsurprisingly, slightly unclear conclusion. I assume there’s meant to be a metaphor…But at least, the art style is interesting and beautiful and the animation is pretty good. But, it certainly isn’t a film for everyone.
And that’s the scoop.
Year of Release: 2019
Length: 81 minutes
Director: Jeremy Clapin
Producer: Marc du Pontavice
Production company: Xilam Animation
Screenplay by: Jérémy Clapin, Guillaume Laurant
Voice Actors: Hakim Faris, Victoire du Bois, Patrick d’Assumçao
If you liked this review, read: “Undone” is weird and amazing
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