Directed by: Jérémy Clapin
Written by: Jérémy Clapin
Starring: Hakim Fairs, Victoire du Bois, Patrick d’Assumçao, Alphonse Arfi, Hichem Mesbah
A story of one tale, two timelines, and inconsistent quality. I Lost My Body presents a style of animation I have not been privy to but tells a story that feels undefined. It follows a severed hand in the search for its body and all of the dangerous roads it must follow to reach it. The other timeline shows the protagonist, Naoufel (Hakim Faris), and what led up to the moment when his hand separates from his body.
When focusing on the trek of the hand, this film exhibits a silent, yet tense and exhilarating experience. It shows all of the things taken for granted with humans being relatively large mammals and shows the world from a lower angle. On its journey back to the body, this hand contends with rats and other threatening obstacles that would be mere inconveniences for a person. There are moments that made me fear for the well-being of a sentient hand dodging some harmful foes and narrowly escaping, which represents the very best this film has to offer.
It does falter when telling the story of Naoufel and the eventual dismemberment of his hand. It follows him on the track to meet up with a girl, whom he had a brief encounter. The setup for almost every romance, but the film presents it in a way that shows Naoufel as a stalker. He lies to this particular woman about his identity and straight-up stalks her for most of this narrative. It put me in the place trying to root for a relationship that should probably not happen. Especially considering how that narrative wraps up left me wondering all purpose of the pursuit. The best part about it undoubtedly surrounded the intrigue of when the hand would be severed. Every time he stood near anything sharp or had the potential of dismembering the hand had me concerned until the actual moment.
Animation for me has been dominated by the 2-D animation style of Disney and the computer-generated style of Pixar. While innovative in their time, they have become the norm in animated feature filmmaking. I Lost My Body employs a style that feels fresh and different from what American audiences have learned to appreciate. It sure needed to bring an animated zest considering that for most of the film, the camera follows a severed hand. All of the creatures and other obstacles looked very impressive as the animation opened up the world.
Its story may be lackluster but the overall piece became enjoyable because the moments with the hand are tremendously crafted. Naoufel’s narrative needs some work, especially when trying to tie together the thematic threads in the story and exploring the hand’s representation in the life of Naoufel. I Lost My Body should still be explored because of everything it offers and would be accessible for others who might be put off by it being non-English.