I Lost My Body is an animated love letter from a severed hand to its missing body. Sounds like an odd art-house horror story, yeah? Actually, it’s an award-winning film from France that’s reaching out for recognition as more awards shows air.
As told from the perspectives of young Naoufel and his missing limb, Body depicts an artistic story about breaking away from destiny by doing something completely irrational, as the love between a boy and a girl, as well as that of a child with his deceased parents and a severed hand with its body is depicted on the screen. Sound plays a major role in this film, as dialogue is used as needed. The version I watched involved the French language spoken, with English subtitles displayed.
Don’t let logic bring down an ingenious, original storyline involving a sentient hand that apparently has the honing ability to see, a sense of direction, the ability to think and move on its own, complete with flashbacks to when it was attached. Did I mention the hand is also a killer? Its journey is a little violent, while seeking a family reunion.
I Lost My Body feels like throwback cinema, utilizing an ’80s-inspired soundtrack, complete with synthesizer and black-and-white flashbacks. Its style is unique, employing lots of darker and dull shades that at times it feels like there’s not many details depicted. Not quite Japanese anime, but not quite American animation, either, Body‘s animation is great, feeling like a distant shade of Miyazaki.
Adapted from the book Happy Hand, Body depicts a lost limb that inexplicably bleeds without a body… so where’s the blood actually coming from? It’s best not to get too nitpicky with details, but to let the story take you on a trip. Other cringe-inducing horror elements are the bloody side effects of a beginning carpentry apprentice working with a table saw for the very first time. As the viewer, you keep expecting Naoufel to lose his hand, with plenty of close-ups on the blade, encouraging the anticipation, but you never know exactly when it will happen.
I Lost My Body is getting LOTS of awards attention after becoming the first animated film to win the International Critics’ Week Grand Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Since then, it has been nominated for many more, winning over more than a few film critics. While I was intrigued by the inventive and wholly original storyline, it’s anticlimactic, with no happy ending. While those are not necessary story elements for winning major awards, I was wanting something more from the overall narrative. I expect this one will win multiple Annie Awards, but unsure of any trophies from the larger contests.
So, do severed hands sleep? And if so, do they dream of electric sheep? Maybe, and perhaps more awards will be in store for this beautiful film and filmmaker Jérémy Clapin, who has a bright future ahead of him. Make sure to check out I Lost My Body on Netflix.