“We celebrate our ability to create machines that move as man, yet we take for granted the miracle that is the human body.“ The lines of David Alejandro Fearnhead resonates with the predicament of the 21st century, which is conjoined with the pursuit of comfort and convenience. Guillaume Laurant’s impeccably beautiful book gets an ode with an apt cinematic process that translates into I Lost My Body, originally titled J’ai perdu mon corps in French.
The fabled Jeremy Calpin, known for his work in the critically acclaimed french short, Skhizein (2009), puts in amazing work in his animated directorial venture starring Dev Patel and Victoire du Bois. The film deals with the improbable probability of a human hand getting itself detached from the body. Yes! You read it right! I Lost My Body is such an artistic brilliance that it makes you ponder over this supernaturalism.
I Lost My Body opens up new avenues of imagination while making the audience perceive it in a very mature way. Imagine The Thing from the Addam’s Family or a distant relative of the Hand of Orlac in a lab, regaining back life and taking off to wander around the streets of Paris. The surgical procedure makes the hand get detached from the body and it gradually learns to crawl. The crawling is followed by walking which precedes running and eventually breaking free. The hand behaves like a person who was held captive for years and has finally finished his tunnel of escape, the light at the end beckons as freedom awaits. We seldom know what we truly want and the hand witnesses the gruesome world with its hectic traffic, the sound of machinery, and the infestation of the rodents. The dilemma amplifies and the hand wanders in a subway, trying to recuperate his former self.
I Lost My Body gives us a glimpse into the perception of losing something precious and the deep emotional regret it bestows in us. The hand recalls the past when it was attached to the body and the introduction of Naoufel, the pizza delivery boy is done with an effortless charm. Naoufel’s character is layered with precision which we can see in the film on numerous occasions. He is in awe of the voice of a customer of his, Gabrielle and we get a glimpse into what drives him. The retrospective narrative then transitions into Naoufel’s childhood memories of being around his parents in his native country, Morocco, trying to encapsulate the sounds in his recorder. The sounds he captures are etched as totems symbolizing the loss of his innocence and childhood.
The realistic approach to surrealism is what weaves the story in a very captivating way and ensures the upliftment of the thematic emotions of physical and psychological dismemberment where silence speaks louder than words. Jeremy Calpin gracefully changes the depiction of emotions from the source by doing away with the narrative voiceover and inculcating the gestures of the hand to convey the subtle emotions through movements and eloquently perfect mime. The producers are well aware of the Toy-Story-Esque emotional intelligence of the film and cater to aspirational adolescents as well as the more experienced adults. The film might look like a horror-infused description of the life of a hand but it is much more invigorating with its precise undertones of melancholia and the longing for a reunion that will grant completion.
The film tries and successfully creates a balance between the hues of life and the animation follows the same trend with its beautiful blending of 2d and 3d animation techniques. The world created by Calpin, in his words, “is an animated world halfway between the tangible and imaginary“. The music by Dan Levy makes the whole thing more coherent and consistent by providing a subtle tune of romanticism and longing. I Lost My Body is an analysis of the psychological free will and the prevalent determinism that guides the psyche of the people that surround us.
I Lost My Body is streaming on Netflix.
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