This is animated feature follows a hand that journeys across Paris (particularly at night under the starry skies) encountering danger after danger in search of a quest that is kept from the audience till the very end of the film. The hand travels by its walking fingers, finding its way without sight, since the hand has no eyes. The exercise feels like ‘the hand’ in THE ADDAM’S FAMILY, but not in the horror sense.
Director Jeremy Clapin’s I LOST MY BODY went on to win the Critics’ Grand Prize at this year’s Cannes becoming the first animated feature to have done so. It much have charmed the critics which is beyond my understanding. The film is co-written by Guillaume Laurant who helmed charming films like AMELIE and A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT with Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I found the entire exercise exhaustive, uninteresting and a little boring, making little sense at all.
Clapin’s film tells twins stories of the hand and a young man named Naoufel (Hakin Paris) who lives with his uncle and his supposedly cool brother who gets all the girls. During a botched pizza delivery, he encounters a young lady named Gabreille (Victoire Du Bois). In what developed into a romance, he stalks her to the library where she works.
At one point she loans him a book entitled THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, which must have some significance to the film, which I determined is related to new existence. The other story is about the hand trying to find the lost bBDYy. How the two stories connect will not be disclosed in the review, but the revelation occurs near the end.
It is clear that the film has a weak narrative and both stories just float around, with with no real purpose. Arguably, this could be directors’s Clapin’s purpose – to surprise and maybe charm from its free-flowing structure.
The film has some disturbing scenes like the one where the hand is down in the metro tracks with huge size rats sniffing the hand. The rats sniff out the hand which pulls back before they attack it, biting viciously.
The musical score by Dan Levy deserves mention, which creates the mood and atmosphere of the film. The score is more appreciated for the fact that the film contains minimal dialogue.
The film is not about Noaufel’s romance or about the hand ultimately finding its body. It is more about existence or perhaps the search for happiness and satisfaction.
But the film is generally uplifting despite the fact that it sparely about a hand trying to find its lost body. One has to (pardon the pun) hand it to the filmmakers for making a whimsical fantasy on the subject of a severed hand. At times clever, I LOST MY HAND has gone on to win many awards worldwide including the Annecy Film Festival. There is a strong possibility I LOST MY BODY will be nominated for this year’s Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature.