Netflix has scooped up worldwide rights to Jérémy Clapin’s I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps), capping off a big week for the film in which it also won the top prize at Cannes Critics’ Week.

Netflix’s worldwide rights deal includes all territories except for China, Benelux, Turkey, and France. The deal was brokered by Charades on behalf of producer Xilam Animation.

Clapin’s film about a severed hand on a quest to return to its body received raves in its Cannes debut, and has been hailed for its visual poetry and existential themes. The film marks Clapin’s feature directorial debut, though he was already highly regarded as a short filmmaker whose projects (Backbone Tale, Skhizein, Palmipedarium) have a distinctive style and unique voice.

The enormity of this Netflix acquisition cannot be overstated. Foreign animated features have traditionally had limited visibility in the marketplace due to a lack of distribution options that can compete with the reach of major American film studios. With Netflix stepping into the picture, it assures that I Lost My Body will reach the streamer’s base of 150+ million subscribers, creating unprecedented exposure for an adult-oriented European animated feature.

This is, of course, not the first European animated feature that Netflix has acquired — for example Pachamama will debut on Netflix next month — but I Lost My Body could be considered the streamer’s first major European acquisition that will figure into the Oscar race for best animated feature.

Industry trades have already reported that Netflix is planning to do an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run for its own original animated feature Klaus. Now, with Clapin’s Cannes-winning film in their hands, Netflix has their second significant awards season contender, which is going to make the end of 2019 very interesting to watch.

Cartoon Brew spoke with director Clapin and the film’s producer Marc du Pontavice last March. Read more about the film here.

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