I Lost My Body – OIAF 2019 Review

I’ve been a fan of Jérémy Clapin’s short film filmography since his film Palmipedarium, which premiered back in 2012. His unique eye for earnest stories about the human spirit and resilience is motivating and courageous. Each of his film’s are uniquely different, with all of them, either music video or narrative think-piece, being key players towards an interconnected puzzle. Clapin has mastered his direction on a small-scale, with his consistently bewildering and astonishing thematic tone and visual style. When hearing that Clapin was developing his first ever feature film, a couple months back, I was shocked and excited. Once it premiered at Cannes, garnering rave reviews and record-breaking animation records from the La Semaine de la Critique, I knew the film was too good to be true.

My nihilism and skeptical hunches unfortunately came to be. I Lost My Body is a sudden misstep from one of France’s most talented and underappreciated artists, where the risks Clapin took, never served for improvement towards the film’s weak, narrative progression. 

It’s a film that’s suffering from a massive identity crisis. I Lost My Body never knows what it wants to say. It’s cluttered with stalker subplots, romantic insinuations, and a severed hand that roams the streets of an oddly bare Paris. The thing is, there’s no real point to it all. It’s the definition of pretentious, where Laraunt and Clapin’s writing is overshadowed with whimsical unfinished ideas. This also doesn’t excuse the glorified douche-bag behavior from the film’s protagonist. When will writers ever learn that a character’s death and long-term grief, doesn’t ever excuse for vulgar predator-like behavior; nor does it equate to reasonable character development! It’s a misguided perspective, that fails in captivating it’s distant audience. 

Although the strangest thing about the film’s gigantic messy ordeal, is that even with the aforementioned unfinished, poorly executed beats that never properly came together into one cohesive whole; the film manages to make do with it’s sparring material. It’s a beautiful fucked up mess. Mesmerizing to the highest degree, and enchanting with it’s flat, two-dimensional locations and character designs, I Lost My Body feels like a nightmarish fever dream. Muddled, confused, and generally lackadaisical, this film relishes in it’s trashy storytelling of indulgent childhood memory and confused character motivations. The score in particular, adds a certain amount of majesty to the film’s consistent somber tone. 

I Lost My Body, while being one of this year’s biggest disappointments, is slowly growing on me over time. It’s far and away from becoming Clapin’s greatest artistic venture, yet the ambitious direction of it’s aimless plot adds to the film’s desirability and brave spirit. A fluttered vision, a convoluted story, and an adventurous heart of gold, I Lost My Body makes up for some of it’s most treacherous crimes against cinema, with it’s daring creative control.

I Lost My Body screened at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival. The film will screen in select cinemas on November 15th, and will later hit Netflix on November 29th

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