Review of I Lost My Body (2019)
Seen in 2019.
A young adult orphan falls in love through a door intercom. Later, his hand treks across Paris.
Fantastic sound: The sound design, foley, acting and score are all highly appropriate. Naoufel’s recording foregrounds this beautifully. The realistic cel-style animation is also very good indeed, except that the frame count is painfully low at times.
The plot leaves something to be desired. The accident, supposedly central, doesn’t make sense: It is hard to lose your entire dominant hand to a band saw, particularly with such a clean cut and nothing pulling you past the blade. It’s an inelegant choice since there’s a circular saw right there in the same shop. Circular saws are much more dangerous to a beginner, yet the unlikely scene is long and elaborate. The opening is suspense-oriented in the same silly way: No clinical lab tech is going to put an unsheathed scalpel on top of a cabinet with the blade turned to face the room, just waiting to drop. It takes extra work to do something that stupid. Despite the reference to The World According to Garp (1978), the blood of I Lost My Body is not the purposeful gore of that book, it’s just lazy thriller filmmaking set apart from the narrative.
Even the central conceit of the Todorovian-fantastic errant hand is flawed. As Gabrielle says so wisely of the lack of a romantic plan, “And then what? Fuck the girl in the igloo?” There is no plan for the hand either. It provides a third leg of the narrative between Naoufel’s origin story and his pursuit of Gabrielle, but that leg has no foot, nor does the story have a fourth leg where Naoufel’s disability affects his life. Speaking of tortured metaphors, I don’t mind that the hand’s supernatural quest fails to produce a secondary miracle, but its metaphorical value as part of the man’s struggle is surprisingly low. Animation would have been a fine choice of medium for this story even without the hand. I appreciate how it contextualizes all of the visual compositions even in other scenes, and the umbrella scene is really cool, but the conclusion, not so much.