In the new Netflix animated movie “I Lost My Body” (“J’ai perdu mon corps” is the original French title), there’s always a higher place to get to—a higher social position, a higher sense of self-regard, a higher state of connection. It is true of the socially-trapped Naoufel coping with the loss of his parents after a mysterious tragedy, and it is true of his severed hand that we see come to life before beginning a perilous journey through the city, fending off sewer rats and dodging high-speed traffic as if David Cronenberg had directed “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
Director Jérémy Clapin’s strangely mesmeric movie – the best animated offering of 2019 – casts a sentimental eye towards its absurd premise, but “I Lost My Body” isn’t out to exploit its handtagonist. There’s no grisly bone fragments in sight, no streak of blood that trails it. In a month when one of the most highly-anticipated (highly-dreaded?) movies is about anthropomorphic dancing cats, it isn’t the images of a sentient hand that’s strange; it’s Clapin’s blasé attitude toward it, as if it were a child separated from its mother. Surreally, that sentiment may not be too far off.
What happened for Naoufel (voiced by Hakim Faris) to lose his hand? We inevitably learn the grisly details, but they’re not too important. What is vital is the aching sense of longing that’s manifested through the delicately-animated movements of one of the human body’s most delicate parts. Continue reading →