Alright people, this French animated film deserves full props. It is absolutely captivating, and I was not all that excited going into it. But, Jérémy Clapin created something special with I Lost My Body.
Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2019, Clapin's animated piece took home the Nespresso Grand prize. Now, finding it's home on Netflix and readily available to the masses, I Lost My Body is a strange combination of awkward social interactions, satisfying personal development, and to top it off, a dismembered hand that crawls it's way through the concrete jungle of a bustling city.
Split into two parallel stories, I Lost My Body showcases the life of Naoufel as he goes from a child with adoring parents to an orphan without much hope, and the defining moments leading up to his eventual meeting with Gabrielle and untimely disposal of a pretty important appendage.
So, what we have is a love story (with some pretty stalker-ish undertones if I'm being perfectly honest) and a Homeward Bound adaptation featuring "Thing" from Addams Family. I'm just farting through a flute. It's actually pretty amazing.
The animation alone, without any context or audio, is already something that rattled me. As someone who comes in last at Pictionary every holiday, it truly captivated me to watch the illustrated hand of Naoufel crawl through the subway while fighting off rats.
The love story unfolding at the same time is actually a recollection of past events, with Naoufel working as a pizza delivery dude, riding a scooter and struggling to make get to his customers on time.
One night, already on thin ice with his boss, Naoufel has an accident while out on a delivery. Feeling beaten, and forty minutes late, he buzzes the intercom of a large block of apartments. Gabrielle is the voice on the other side and the two of them end up having a long, and raw conversation. It kind of reminded me of Bruce Willis and Mary Louise Parker in Red. Especially in the way that both men become enamored by the voice of the woman, and set off on a slightly voyeuristic mission to make them theirs.
The ultimate collision of both stories could have been disastrous, with no clear direction for what will happen being apparent, but Clapin did it justice. I won't bother spoiling that part for you, or just how Naoufel and his hand became separated.
We don't do rated reviews of films at Moose Fruit but if we did, I Lost My Body would be up there. It's an emotional journey with playful wit to keep it from getting too dark, but that doesn't mean it isn't still a raw, and real experience that will linger with you for a few days post-viewing.