“Once you’ve dribbled past fate, what do you do?”Review by Lily Taylor
‘I Lost My Body’ is a French animation released in 2019, it is an Oscar nominee and winner of the Nespresso Grand Prize at Cannes; controversially, I thought it missed the mark. The film follows a young man by the name of Naoufel, an extremely unskilled pizza delivery boy who feels a little lost in life following a move to Paris after his parents’ death. After distracting his father at the wheel he was the soul survivor of the resulting car crash and has moved to France to live with his uncle and cousin; both of whom are wholly unpleasant.
Whilst working as a pizza delivery man, albeit one who is constantly late and definitely making a loss, Naoufel speaks to a young customer, Gabrielle, over her apartment’s intercom system. He becomes borderline obsessed with her following their philosophical intercom musings about the world and the rain outside and begins to pursue her company. He embarks on an apprenticeship with her uncle, Gigi, in his carpentry and what ensues could be described partly as a coming of age story and partly as an origin story for the real star of the movie, a severed hand.
The story of the severed hand who (you guessed it), has lost his body and the story of Naoufel and Gabrielle run simultaneously. This fantastically anthropomorphic hand begins a journey to reunite with its body. Along the way it takes on Le Metro, a gang of vicious Parisian street rats and an extremely busy motorway using more ingenuity and spirit than Naoufel displays during the entire film. I’m sure you can tell I’m pretty bias towards the personified hand and not a huge Naoufel supporter by now.
It’s a marmite kind of film and I’m sticking to the middle ground on this one, strictly neutral, the Switzerland of film reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it by a long shot but by the same token, I didnt love it either, I suppose I would say I mildly recommend it. It has redeeming features for sure, the main one being a damn good soundtrack, the low-fi blade runner-esque beats possibly being better than the movie itself. I also have to give the animation style some credit, it was honestly what inspired me to watch the film in the first place and it’s absolutely a uniquely textured animation. The hand was particularly well animated, it felt so human that I connected with its journey more than that of the main characters.
‘I Lost My Body’ is a classic case of style over substance for me, although I know a large proportion of the internet may disagree. Maybe I’m uncultured or too emotionally underdeveloped to get it but I just really did not get it! I found the relationship between Naoufel and Gabrielle completely lacking in substance and I didnt really find him to be likeable at all. A lot of indulgent flashbacks were used to tell the audience what we realistically already knew and the plot was very lethargic with an undefined end message. If they make a sequel specifically about the anthropomorphic hand then I’m in!