“I lost my body”. Initially the title didn’t make any sense to me but little had I expected the movie to be so mesmerizing. The movie introduces one to various metaphorical visuals that reflect on the realities of one’s life. The movie begins with a dismembered hand pushing its way out of a medical refrigerator and then beginning a long journey across the Parisian night.
The movie follows two parallel narratives. One of a disjointed hand and the other of a boy named Naoufel. From the very beginning of the film, the hand feels lost in a harrowing world where it had always been accompanied by its owner, but now that it has been separated, it is just driven by a single purpose—to somehow find its way back to Naoufel and become a part of him again. Naoufel loses his parents at a very young age and starts living with his uncle and cousin. Naoufel’s childhood is shown through the flashbacks of the hand as it’s on its way to find him.
As a kid, Naoufel dreams of becoming a pianist and an astronaut. This shows that as adults we forget our dreams and get in the rat race for earning more money. We start thinking that we don’t have the talent and that wealth is more important than dreams, even though the harsh truth is that we stop trying. Naoufel loves capturing various sounds – whistling of the blowing wind, sound of the pouring rain, moments spent with his parents, etc. This made me realize that we are so engrossed in our lives that we stop admiring the small things around us which give us joy. He listens to those recordings whenever he wants to relive those moments. Naoufel is struggling to find his life’s purpose, as he fails at literally everything. Even working as a pizza delivery boy does not work out for him, but it somehow leads him to a fateful encounter with a young girl named Gabrielle. He gets attracted to her after their conversation and decides to stalk her. He gets a job with her uncle so that he can spend time with her. This may sound creepy but having had such a tragic life, his behavior can be explained. The efforts made by him to be with her are romantic.
One of the intriguing characters in this movie is a housefly who seems to follow the main character all the time. There is a scene in the beginning where Naoufel’s dad teaches him that the best way to catch a fly is to aim for its side as the fly will never anticipate that. However, Naoufel isn’t able to catch it. That’s when his dad says that no one succeeds every time, but one doesn’t need to succeed always. Although, one must keep trying as one successful chance is all you need to achieve your goal. The fly is in all the defining moments of Naoufel’s life which leads to a future that is destined for him. The fly is a representation of Naoufel’s destiny and he ends up chopping off his hand trying to catch the fly. These moments force the main protagonist to believe that he has no control over his circumstances.
The hand’s journey is full of trials and tribulations, but nothing deters it to get where it wants to be. Along the way, things don’t work out the way it expected them to, but it still holds on to its dreams and hopes to live through its self-created shit-storm. To reach its destination, the hand wants to cross a busy highway road underneath it and it sees an astronaut giving it the thumbs up, so it takes out an umbrella and takes a giant leap towards the end of its journey. This signifies that when life gives you a chance, just grab it. Have faith in yourself and your dreams and take the leap. Even after finding Naoufel, it realizes that it can never re-attach itself but it’s content knowing that it has reached back to its owner. This portrays the feeling of attachment and determination to be with the one you want. People say we don’t always get the person we love. There can be many reasons for that. However, the love never goes away and we just want to make sure that the person we loved is safe and happy.
In the last scene, Gabrielle finds the last one of his audiotapes. As she plays it, she drifts back to moments where Naoufel stood on the edge of the terrace, feeling dejected about his life. But just how the hand takes a leap of faith before jumping off to reach its destination, even Naoufel takes a final leap of faith and jumps right off the roof of his building to finally land his feet on the crane. It’s this turning point that restores his faith in life and makes him believe that some things in life are still very well under his control. And since this moment defied his “destiny”, even the fly did not make its appearance. His final drastic step sets him free and liberates him from the noxious memories of his past. With this, even the hand realizes that its owner has moved on ahead with his life and won’t be needing it anymore. While the hand slowly drifts away into the darkness, Naoufel realizes that he may not always get everything in life, but he must learn to go with the flow and take life as it comes to him. In the end, both, the hand and the main character, learn to accept that they will always be leaving behind a part of them with all of life’s stumbling blocks, but that does not mean that they should stop practicing their own free will.