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Bizarre Animated Film Finds Graphic Poetry in a Severed Hand

I Lost My Body

International Critics’ Week

A hand-drawn hand stars in French director Jérémy Clapin’s engrossingly lyrical debut, “I Lost My Body,” a life-affirming work of graphic poetry that stands as the only animated choice at Cannes’ Critics’ Week, the place it world-premiered on Friday. Inventively tailored from Guillaume Laurant’s 2006 novel, “Happy Hand,” this bona fide treasure is bound to go away its melancholic fingerprints all around the viewer’s soul.

The movie’s title refers to what its protagonist, a severed proper hand, would word as its present predicament. Separated from the physique of Naoufel (Hakim Faris), an orphaned younger man who feels adrift, the sentient extremity escapes the lab the place it has been saved since a grim accident brought about the detachment.

Suffering from what’s finest defined as reverse phantom limb syndrome, the hand aches to reunite with its rightful proprietor. Clapin, working from a spot of utmost earnestness, depicts its voyage via Paris, an city maze riddled with perilous adversaries and traps, as essentially the most paramount of missions. Humor is current within the trials the hand undergoes, however the charmingly weird narrative shouldn’t be taken as parody.

Through refined mannerisms, like how the hand “sits” with its fingers hanging over a constructing’s ledge, Clapin enlivens the heroic appendage with its personal resonant character. Black-and-white flashbacks exhibit its personal tactile reminiscences of the surfaces it’s touched, the objects it’s held, the music it’s performed, and the way it’s helped Naoufel contact and work together with the tangible world. It’s remarkably illustrative character improvement.

In spite of the disconnected tissue, there’s an inextricable bond between the 2 entities that make up a part of the identical complete. Thus, “I Lost My Body” intercuts the hand’s electrifying journey fencing off rats and bugs with Naoufel’s humdrum existence and pessimistic outlook.

Conceptually, the movie’s chief preoccupation is destiny – extra exactly, the extent to which a person can exert free will to change no matter hand he’s been dealt by the capricious universe. If all of the sorrow in our lives is predetermined, can we maintain onto a sure unbreakable happiness via all of it? Or should we set in movement an energetic plan to defy windfall, even when futile?

For Naoufel, the watershed comes when befriending Gabrielle (Victoire Du Bois), a practical younger lady, following an preliminary probability encounter. Starving for a spark, the despondent youth resorts to misguided romantic shows.

As a baby, Naoufel had recorded sounds to cherish as audio reminiscences. Brimming with curiosity, his future had boundless promise. But missing compassionate steerage from a young age, Naoufel is now a pizza supply boy who lives consistently regretting not being a step forward of no matter it’s he needs to achieve.

His hand is aware of it, and in flip, it’s additionally haunted by the symbols of what it might have been. Closure, nonetheless, can’t be grabbed till Naoufel reckons with the tragedy past pity, and reframes it as an outdoor issue that bears to energy over his need to expertise life in all its brokenness. Beaten and flawed, he’s nonetheless full.

As crushing as it’s stirring, the gritty fable co-written for the display by Clapin and Laurant (“Amélie,” “A Very Long Engagement”) finds a super visible medium within the filmmaker’s evocative animation.

Stylistically, “I Lost My Body” resides someplace between a graphic novel and Japanese anime, with colours that appeared washed both by moonlight or the delicate mild of a…

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