This animated film about a hand, detached from its body, wandering the streets of Paris, is absolutely mesmerising. It has such a seemingly weird and questionable concept – why is a hand the main character? how would that be an interesting story to follow? – but it is filled with intriguing symbolism. I found myself bizarrely attached to the story of this hand, as it did it’s very best to survive, whilst the flashbacks of the past revealed the life of the boy who once held that hand as his own.
There was just something so deep, calm and thoughtful about this film, whilst also plucking at the nervousness and grief and struggles of life simultaneously. The music was beautiful and the animation was simple yet touching. It seemed to express the world from all sorts of angles – birds eye, through mirrors, beneath the ground. It was one of those films you feel completely immersed in, and when you come out the other side you don’t really know how to live in the world anymore.
There was a particularly interesting use of symbolism in the role of a fly, who the boy as a child tried and attempted to catch on multiple occasions. But he never could get a grasp on it. He realised it was “impossible” – this far fetched ideal that couldn’t be obtained, and so he started to live his life passive to whatever life threw at him. He let the fly pass him with not so much as a flicker.
It isn’t until the end that we see that it isn’t impossible. The hand does it’s best to survive because it believes it’s owner needs it back, but he doesn’t. He does not need what he once had, what the past once gave him, to be complete. And jumping off that ledge, laughing into the night sky, he realises that anything is possible. We define our own fate.
Have you watched a film recently that affected you deeply?
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