I Lost My Body, directed by Jeremy Claplin, is a movie equal parts beautiful and strange. It’s not often that foreign language animated films receive any sort of mainstream attention, but after finishing this new Netflix release, it’s not surprising that its causing such a stir (it earned a nomination for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Oscars).
Set in Paris, the film follows young Naoufel (voiced by Hakim Faris) as he attempts to overcome a significant personal tragedy. He meets Gabrielle (Victoire Du Bois) during his shift as a Pizza delivery boy and develops an connection and admiration with her. Meanwhile, a severed hand attempts to traverse the urban landscape of the city in order to find its body.
An undeniably odd premise, and one that inevitably catches you off guard at the beginning of the film. Once initial questions race through your brain (why is the hand sentient? Is this Naoufel’s?), one begins to be swept up in the effortless beauty of the piece. In truth, despite the peculiarity of the story, the thematic resonance of both Naoufel and the hand’s journey to feel whole (both physically and emotionally) is ingenious, and it takes a director with an unbending nerve to make such a metaphorical film.
The animation is a thing of beauty. It’s refreshing to see such an accomplished hand drawn animated feature amongst the tidal wave of CGI Disney movies released today. The backgrounds and landscapes pop alongside the dynamically drawn characters. The hand is arguably the greatest animated accomplished. The limb has character, moves fluidly and establishes an almost fully human presence through the way it moves. The scenes following the adventures of the hand truly are the highlight of the picture.
Admittedly the scenes following Naoufel’s pursuit of Gabrielle, despite being interestingly sombre and well scripted, inevitably fail to capture interest in the same way as the ones with the hand. However, this is not so much of an issue, especially given the short runtime and expert pace. In any other movie, the story of Naoufel would work perfectly well.
8/10- A beautiful film, stunningly animated and filled with universal themes through a wonderfully bizarre premise