Ari Folman’s The Congress – A Thematic Jumble of Sights and Sounds

Ari Folman's The Congress - 2013 filmDirector Ari Folman is well known in Israel these days for his film Waltz with Bashir, which isn’t done by Rotoscope, in case you’re wondering. A couple of weeks ago I’ve watched his newest film, The Congress, at a local sci-fi and fnatasy convention, surrounded by other convention goers. The film was different, and interesting on many levels. One thing I didn’t feel it manage to do well is add up to a consistent creation, on an artistic level, or on any thematic level – discussing its theme, the main question it raises, or its messages. However, considering the film is split into two different moods as part of its concept, I guess it’s not all that surprising.
The Congress is very loosely based on Stanisław Lem‘s novel, Futurological Congress.

The first half of the film deals with actress Robin Wright, and is filmed “normally”, with her being faced with her fading career and being given an ultimatum – sell over her digitized avatar to the studios who will be able to make film without her involvement, with the catch of being unable to ever act again – the other side of the ultimatum is that she simply will get no more contracts – so either way, they’re shutting her away from movie-making, but the difference is whether she’ll get to choose which roles to play in, or won’t. In case you wonder, she sells her rights over.

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