Those who enjoyed Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman’s 2008 animated documentary, Waltz with Bashir, have had a long wait for his follow-up, and as expected it’s far from conventional. Inspired by Stanisław Lem’s 1971 sci-fi novel “The Futurological Congress”, Folman’s part live-action, part-animated film The Congress dabbles in both fiction and reality to create a surreal satire of Hollywood.
The Princess Bride star Robin Wright plays a version of herself as the movie’s lead: an ageing actress with an ailing son, whose career has taken a downward spiral since her original stardom. As her son Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee) loses his sight and hearing, Robin’s agent Al (Harvey Keitel) tells her that major studio Miramount (a portmanteau of Miramax and Paramount) has a deal to offer her: Robin will agree never to act again, and the studio will scan her body and take ownership of her physical likeness, creating an eternally young Robin Wright who can continue making movies for many years to come.
Eventually a lawyer manages to knock the expiry date on Robin’s contract down to twenty years, at which point she is invited to the eponymous congress. This meeting, held at Miramount, can only be attended by taking a drug that chemically alters perceptions to make everyone appear as animated character. That’s pretty much all you need to know before watching the new US trailer for The Congress, but even with that foreknowledge this movie looks like a pretty bizarre ride.
The Congress premiered at Cannes in 2013, where it received positive reviews (though not many rave reviews). The consensus seems to be that it is flawed but makes for an interesting watch, and that Robin’s desire to find her son acts as something of an emotional anchor when the rest of the movie descends into hallucinogenic madness.
Did this trailer manage to sell you on Folman’s vision of Hollywood’s future? Tell us in the comments whether you’re planning to seek out The Congress upon its release later this year.
The Congress is out in theaters on August 29th, 2014.