Jérémy Clapin’s I Lost My Body is Netflix’s beautifully bleak new animated film which follows a severed hand through the streets of Paris. The hand goes on a daunting expedition to search for its former self, a young despondent pizza delivery driver named Naoufel (Hakim Faris). Running parallel to the hand’s journey is flashbacks of Naoufel’s life. He begins to see his first glimmer of hope meeting Gabrielle (Victoire Du Bois), one of his unhappy customers and immediately becomes obsessed with her after speaking at length over her intercom. Memories of Naoufel’s much happier childhood are woven throughout the animation with old cassette recordings. The film definitely has its issues, like the romanticisation of Naoufel following Gabrielle through the streets of Paris. Naturally, it’s every girl’s dream to have a man like her enough to stalk her … not at all creepy. Though in fairness, what is a romantic story without a problematic male lead?
The film is based on the book Happy Hand and was adapted by Guillaume Laurant – who was nominated for an Oscar for his script work on the Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. The limited speech throughout the film is impactful and Clapin’s use of a predominantly greyscale colour scheme helps to add to the macabre and depressing tone of the tale. Gabrielle’s neon headphones help to provide a small glimmer of hope into Naoufel’s life. The score by Dan Levy beautifully helps you feel his loss and longing for a love like he had during his formative years. The gorgeous imagery paired with this score leaves a substantial impact on the viewer.
When you hear that the film is about a severed hand, your immediate thoughts are gore and horror. However, Clapin makes viewers fear for the hand’s safety rather than fear the hand. The portrayal of the severed hand is more as a vulnerable child than it is as an object of horror. The hand appears terrified at every obstacle that it encounters – from feral rodents to the accidental strangling of a mother pigeon. You end up viewing the hand and Naoufel as two entirely different characters and its easy to favour the hand over the character of Naoufel. Yes, Naoufel may have had a hard life but arguably the hand didn’t have it easy either. I Lost My Body is a melancholic film which makes you feel a sense of infinite sadness.
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