Friday, 6 March 2015

Animated Discussions: "The Congress" by Ari Folman

Just watched The Congress on DVD - a combination live action/animation film. Now I couldn't find it in the shop under "Animation"... but I did find it under "Sci-fi". And that sci-fi hating Old Man did watch it. Mainly because it is another film from Ari Folman whose full animation "Waltz with Bashir"  (based on memories of his own and of friends who were soldiers in the Israeli army at the time of the Shatila Massacre).....he do like.

The Congress stars Robin Wright... as Robin Wright, a middle-aged film star facing the choice of accepting her final contract... to be digitally scanned and become the property of the film company. She must not act or perform in any way for the duration of the 20 year contract, because the film company Miramount owns the character Robin Wright. She finds this an outrageous offer but her son is ill... and as an "aging" Hollywood property she has no prospect of work. What follows is a long exploration of identity, choice, reality, fantasy not to mention the Hollywood machine.
I found it a quite difficult but fantastic film. It is layered with allusions... even the animated sequences refer to different animation styles, including my favourite Japanese master, Miyazaki. Towards the end the film reminded me of "Solaris"... the Tarkovsky version... it had the same flavour of psychological journey. Then when the credits went up I saw that it was based on The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, the author of the originating novel of Solaris. Which sends The Old Man scurrying to his bookshelves to see if he has it.... cos he do like Lem. But No. Have to get on the internet and see what we can find.

For me The Congress is a feast of a film which left me pondering for some time afterward.

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