Starring: Hakim Faris, Victoire du Bois, Patrick d’Assumçao
Director: Jérémy Clapin
Running Time: 81 mins
I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps) is a French film about a young man who falls in love with a woman, while a dismembered hand journeys across the city in search of its body.
Small and unassuming on the outside, but packing a real punch once it opens up, it’s films like I Lost My Body that really prove the astonishing power of independent animation, thrilling with gorgeous visuals, striking and dynamic style, and most of all a deeply moving story.
For such a short, small-scale film, it is amazing just how much there is to praise about I Lost My Body, but the one thing that’s difficult to look past is its astonishing visuals. Taking inspiration from a number of adult animated films before it, featuring a tactile and gritty portrayal of the real world blended with a brand of magical realism impossible to show in live-action, the film is an absolute marvel to witness from beginning to end.
What’s even more striking about its style is how it brings together so many different elements of modern independent animation under one roof. On the one hand, it has the dark yet eye-catching artistic nature of modern classics like Persepolis, The Illusionist and Chico And Rita, but on the other, it brings the inimitable style of photorealistic animation so often seen in Japanese animations of recent years like Your Name and Children Who Chase Lost Voices.
Add to that a brilliant urban energy that’s reminiscent of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and you have one of the most visually spectacular animated films of the decade, thrilling at every moment with eye-catching animation that’s equally appropriate for its story.
Because, while adult animation has become more and more commonplace through the last decade, there can often be a clash between the distinct visual style of animation and darker storytelling. With the exception of those that use animation in an ironic manner, it can be very difficult to achieve the same deep dramatic power as a live-action film through animation when the story doesn’t immediately call for it.
And as I Lost My Body isn’t a big fantasy blockbuster, you would think that it’s the sort of film that would work just as well in live action.
However, the animation opens up the door for just a little bit of artistic flair that has a massive impact on the film as a whole. Whether it be the magical realism of a dismembered hand dragging its way across a gritty Paris, or the spectacular and moving moments of reflection in our main character that play out in front of a visually gorgeous backdrop, the use of animation here only makes I Lost My Body a better film.
And as a result, with such captivating and engrossing visuals, it’s difficult not to be completely taken by the story too. It may seem like a short and simple tale on the outside, but I Lost My Body packs a real punch with its combination of adventure and coming-of-age drama, following the story of a young man discovering his true place in the world through a series of life-changing events.
The film still remains small-scale and down-to-earth, never stretching to melodrama where it might seem simple, and as such it’s only even more captivating and relatable, with director Jérémy Chapin doing a stunning job to bring such moving and reflective power to the film throughout.
Overall, I loved this film. I Lost My Body is a testament to the potential and power of animation, and while it may not look like much on the face of things, the film combines electrifying visuals with a deeply engrossing and moving story, making for a captivating and striking watch from beginning to end, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.