Based on a novel by Amelie screenwriter Guillaume Laurant, this French animation about a severed hand trying to reconnect with its owner is a darkly funny adventure-drama that’s packed with pathos.
After escaping a Parisian hospital, the independent hand traverses the city – fending off oncoming traffic, erratic pigeons and feral rats along the way – in an impossible quest to rejoin the body it once belonged to, that of clumsy loner Naoufel. The latter’s unfortunate circumstances – and his budding romance with whip-smart librarian Gabrielle – are unpacked in flashbacks that also bring us ever closer to discovering the cause of the hand’s violent separation.
On the one, ahem, hand, this is a study of scaled-down, ground-level danger, where there’s great comedy to be found in the detail. On the other, it’s a meditation on fractured identity, heightened by the hand’s poignant hope for reconciliation. Director/co-writer Clapin sensitively combines melancholy with an ultimately life-affirming message.
It won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize at Cannes, has been snatched up by Netflix and given a starry dub with Dev Patel (Naoufel) and Alia Shawkat (Gabrielle). But it’s still the unconventional premise, captivating artistry and profound themes that really grab you.
I Lost My Body is in select cinemas and starts streaming on Netflix on November 29th.