MIFF 2013 – The Congress (2013)



Director: Ari Folman
Starring: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David

Robin Wright (playing herself) gets a harsh dressing down from her agent (Harvey Keitel) about all the bad choices she has made in her life. Her studio is offering her one more contract, but it is different from a normal movie contract, they want to scan her into the computer and use the digital persona to make movies without her input.

While she is hesitant at first, her agent manages to convince her and also helps her by telling a story during the scanning process. Cut to 20 years later and Robin arrives at the Futurist Congress which is in a “restricted animated zone” and a whole lot of stuff happens.

WOW! It’s hard to put into words how amazing this movie becomes once they cross over into animation. Even the live action sections, such as Harvey Keitel’s speech during the scanning process would be a stand out in any movie, but having the animated section takes it to another level.

It all seems to be hand-drawn animation also and is very creative. I liked the line “we apologise for the lack of symmetry in the rainbows” and all the things you see when the characters walk around with people who become whatever they desire.

There is also some satire relating to the current state of the movie industry with “the whole system changing” and sticking the boot into Australia for some reason. It also shows what happens when people alter their brain chemistry to get whatever they want, the entire world economy became redundant and people just shuffle around in the ruins dressed in rags living inside their own minds.

The clips from the fake movies where interesting with “Rad Rebel Robots” and the reworking on the riding the bomb scene from Dr Strangelove.

I had not heard of the story by Stanislaw Lem that the film was based on, but it looks interesting. The production was a multi-nation project due to the number of animators involved and you can see the work that has gone into it up on screen.

Not sure how well this movie will go in general release, but it should be a big hit amongst fans of animation and science fiction stories.

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