A hand wanders around a terrifying city, dodging train wheels and rodents, hiding in the shadows, and struggling to find its way somewhere, but each touch has the potential to bring out a tender memory, of a life before, of connections and love, and the things that make life as confusing a mess as the tangled city the limb is crossing. This is I Lost My Body. It’s animated, it’s beautiful and it is very, very French.
One of those films that Netflix gives a limited release to in the cinema before locking it onto its platform, I Lost My Body is, to be shockingly pretentious for a moment, what racist composer and musical demigod Richard Wagner might have called a gesamtkunstwerk. It makes full use of every artistic form available to it to create an impact. The animation is panicky and raw when it needs to be, tender and monochrome at times, and soft and autumnal when thoughts overtake words. All without being obvious that it’s done so. Similarly, the soundtrack, by French multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy, is integral to the mood and impact. At times it reminded me of Vangelis and Blade Runner, at other times, yes, it was Wagner and Parsifal. And, like a radio play, the soundscape of the city, of nature, of possible violence, and the silence that follows, is central.
It is something of a shock to realise that this is writer/director Jérémy Clapin’s first full length film, such is its confidence. What could be an overly complex, or at least ridiculous, idea, is handled with ease. I Lost My Body may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is very much mine and it is highly recommended.