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Western Animation / I Lost My Body

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I Lost My Body (French: J'ai perdu mon corps) is a 2019 French animated film directed by Jérémy Clapin. It is based on the novel Happy Hand by Guillaume Laurant.

In a French hospital, a hand comes to life. It moves and stealthily navigates though Paris, facing mundane dangers such as being eaten by rats, as it tries to return to its former owner, a young Moroccan-French man named Naoufel. The hand's dangerous yet dreamy journey is interspersed with flashbacks of Naoufel's life, from his happy childhood in Morocco to his young adulthood in France after the death of his parents in an accident and his odd romance of sorts with a young librarian named Gabrielle.

I Lost My Body provides examples of:

  • All There in the Script: While Naoufel's hand goes nameless in the film, the screenplay gives her the name Rosalie.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Naoufel isn't good at focusing on one thing (unless it happens to be artistic). He is always multitasking and failing at small things.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Naoufel losing his hand is shown.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Naoufel is implied to have left his old life (and his hand) behind. But he jumped from the rooftop to the crane, which he had earlier described as one of the ways you can defy fate and circumvent the illusion of free will. After a life of being thrown around, accident after accident, making that jump must have felt like taking his life in his hand again.
  • Body Horror: It's a severed hand. It comes to life in a fridge full of eyes (one of which is soon crushed under a foot). Then there is a lot of foreshadowing on how it was cut.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: How Naoufel's parents died. He doesn't seem to have learned his lesson, and drives in a very distracted manner.
  • Fingore: The hand is often hit or bitten or falls from high. It must hurt.
  • Foreshadowing: We know from the start that Naoufel is going to lose his right hand. The film opens with Naoufel being taught how to properly swipe at flies. He works in a carpenter's workshop with mechanical saws and is super distracted and multitasking all the time.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Following their conversation about the North Pole, Naoufel builds a wooden igloo on a roof for Gabrielle. However, the gesture goes awry when she realizes how the two of them had gotten close to begin with.
  • Monochrome Past: The flashbacks to Naoufel's early life are in black and white.
  • Screw Destiny: Naoufel says one can do this by taking an unexpected choice. He is later implied to have done this by jumping onto the crane from the roof.
  • Shout-Out: In a flashback, Naoufel's dad is shown to sing a song by Georges Brassens, while playing the guitar and wearing a mock mustache.
  • Show, Don't Tell: This film manages to make much exposition with few words. In fact the hand coming to life may not be real, just a device for telling a story.
  • Silence is Golden: Most of the scenes with the hand are (obviously) dialogue-free.
  • Stalker with a Crush: After he had a conversation with her on the intercom, Naoufel likes Gabrielle and wants to see her again. He manages to find her phone number and working place, but is too embarrassed to talk to her in a honest manner, so he ends up stalking her then pretending to meet her for the first time.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The recorder, where Naoufel keeps recordings of his parents. He leaves it behind after deciding to obtain a new lease on life.
  • The Unreveal: By the end, we still don't know how his cut hand came to life.