The Congress looks at the state of modern Hollywood – actresses battling ageism, the cannibalising presence of CGI and mo-cap – and reflects back a metafictional gem.
Folman’s adapted script is cynical about the future of film and life as we know it, but ambiguous enough to suggest such an outcome might not be so bad. Even better is his stunningly ambitious direction, full of loving nods and hints at cinema’s past.
Indeed, it’s hard to dislike such a gorgeous future, depicted as an anime-inflected Looney Tunes on acid. Wright is magnificent, even in animated form, remaining a soulful and powerful presence to anchor this breathtaking film.
Thrillingly audacious and bursting with ideas, humanity and heart. It could be shorter, and one or two moments feel too much like an academic debate, but The Congress delivers a scathing rebuke to the whole of the film industry without ever losing sight of the bigger picture.
CAST: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston
DIRECTOR: Ari Folman
WRITERS: Ari Folman (screenplay), Stanislaw Lem (novel)
SYNOPSIS: Wright plays a fictional version of herself as an ageing actress whose likeness is digitised along with the rest of the industry. She has no control over how her image is used and soon the whole of humanity is chemically altering itself to represent reality how they want.