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French Animation ‘I Lost My Body’ Tops Cannes Critics’ Week Winners

I Lost My Body,” a dark French animated film from writer-director Jérémy Clapin, has come up trumps in this year’s Critics’ Week program at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the strand’s top honor, the Nespresso Grand Prize. The film, which follows a young man’s severed hand as it struggles to be reunited with its own, was a critical favorite in the section, standing out for its blend of morbid humor and touching drama — and of course for being the only toon in an otherwise live-action selection.

Oscar-nominated “Amélie” screenwriter Guillaume Laurant also had a hand in the film, so to speak, which Clapin — whose short film “Skhizein” also won a Critics’ Week prize in 2008 — described to Variety earlier this week as “a kind of love story.” “I Lost My Body,” his first feature, will travel on to the Annecy fest as it seeks international distribution.

Other Critics’ Week prizewinners this year include actor Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, who plays a widowed police chief on an obsessive quest in Icelandic helmer Hlynur Palmason’s well-received “A White, White Day.” The 55-year-old thesp received the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award.

The Jokers Films, the French distributor handling Irish director Lorcan Finnegan’s surreal suburban nightmare “Vivarium,” took the Gan Foundation Award for Distribution; César Díaz, writer-director of Guatemalan post-civil drama “Our Mothers,” was handed the SACD Award.

Topping the program’s short film competition is Chinese director Qiu Yang’s “She Runs,” a portrait of a junior high aerobic dancer, which won the Leitz Cine Discovery Award; Qiu has form in Cannes, having previously won the short film Palme d’Or in 2017 for “A Gentle Night.” Another short, “Ikki Illa Meint,” by Faroese director Andrias Høgenni, won the Canal+ Award.

Colombian president Ciro Guerra (“Embrace of the Serpent,” “Birds of Passage”) headed this year’s Critics’ Week jury, with Marianne Slot, Amira Casar, Djia Mambu and Jonas Carpignano filling out the panel.

Surreal Portuguese satire “Diamantino” was last year’s big Critics’ Week winner; coincidentally, it opens in the U.S. through distributor Kino Lorber this week.

List of winners:

Nespresso Grand Prize: “I Lost My Body,” Jérémy Clapin

Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film: “She Runs,” Qiu Yang

Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, “A White, White Day”

Gan Foundation Award for Distribution: The Jokers Films, French distributor for “Vivarium” by Lorcan Finnegan

SACD Award: César Díaz, “Our Mothers”

Canal+ Award for Short Film: “Ikki Illa Meint,” Andrias Høgenni

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