I lost my body: a jewel that borders on perfection [critique]

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I lost my body
Rezo Films

This first feature film, rewarded by two César, reveals an animation prodigy in the person of Jérémy Clapin.

I lost my body won the César for best animated film in early 2020. A well-deserved prize for this original work, which will be broadcast at 9:10 p.m. on France 4. A program that is not by chance, since Annecy International Animation Film Festival begins its 61st edition today.

Seeing I lost my body, we have the certainty of witnessing, for reasons to which we will return, the birth of a great filmmaker. As it’s an animated film, you can’t help but instinctively make the connection with The Triplets of Belleville, which had, in its time (2003), projected Sylvain Chomet into the light and amazed the spectators. However, there are no more opposites than Sylvain Chomet and Jérémy Clapin. The first is a classic caricaturist, fond of Tati, whose films operate on the nostalgia of a bygone golden age, sprinkled with the absurd. The second navigates between styles (you have to see his three short films, graphically dissimilar) by adopting a certain modernity but also cultivating a taste for poetic and surreal atmospheres. Of surrealism, there is precisely much talk in happy handthe work of Guillaume Laurant (novelist and screenwriter appointed to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, with whom Chomet, well, well, etc. I lost my body is adaptation: in particular, we follow the journey of a severed, “living” hand, which experiences adventures parallel to those of its owner. This poetic license makes it possible to spectacularly illustrate a major theme around the break. The hero, Naoufel, has indeed been dogged by a persistent misfortune since his childhood, which saw him lose his parents, then end up with an indifferent uncle, and finally be mutilated. It will then be a question for him of rebuilding himself, metaphorically and psychologically.

I lost my body – Jérémy Clapin: “There is a world, in one hand”

POETIC QUEST

As he told us in an interview, Jérémy Clapin, requested by producer Marc du Pontavice, has enormously remodeled happy hand to make a film of it in keeping with his distressing universe, where loneliness competes with a consubstantial maladjustment. At Laurant, there was much talk of rivalry and revenge between Naoufel and his terrible cousin, responsible for his mutilation; the narrative was rather direct and linear. None of this in I lost my body which, as the first person indicates, essentially focuses on the poetic quest for this hand, the origin of the tearing from which we gradually learn (different from the book) through a sophisticated montage that mixes temporalities and moods. In Le Clapin, three stories intertwine: Naoufel’s youth (in black and white), the journey of the hand in the city full of traps and the love story that develops between Naoufel and Gabrielle, a young woman whom he met at random on one of his deliveries – he is a courier. The filmmaker mixes chronicle, action and romance with a miraculous sense of balance that reflects a life spent looking for meaning where there is only pain, sadness and frustration. In I lost my bodyeverything is simple and complex, tender and abrupt, like life. “Once you’ve dribbled past fate, what do you do? », Gabrielle asks Naoufel. “ You make sure he doesn’t catch up with you, you rush headlong and cross your fingers.he replies, a sign of a fierce desire to get by despite the contrary elements.

CLASSY STAGE

Since his earliest childhood, Naoufel has had a basic recorder on which he stores various sounds and, in particular, the voices of his parents. The sound design is exemplary in this respect – like Dan Levy’s heady music. It installs and diffuses a dull anguish tinged with melancholy, which is not simply there to look pretty and which contributes to the film’s great plastic success. The digital rendering is perfect, soft and “felt” like drawing; the animation, of an exemplary fluidity. Jérémy Clapin’s sense of framing and editing borders on perfection. It is not forbidden to think of Brian De Palma to whom the recorder refers (Blow Out), as well as the initial tracking of Gabrielle by Naoufel (impulses, Double Bodysuit). The film is totally “depalmesque” in its obsessive dimension but also in its work on the depth of field and certain camera angles. It’s very simple: we haven’t seen such racy staging in French cinema since Jacques Audiard. Like Japanese anime films for adults, I lost my body sets the bar very high at all levels. To say that we are eagerly awaiting the sequel is an understatement.

Discover “A spinal story”, the first short film by Jérémy Clapin

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