The Congress

(France, Israel, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, 2013, 120 mins, DCP)
Canadian Premiere
CAST Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston
EXEC PRODS Jeremiah Samuels, Michael Weber
PRODS Ari Folman, Reinhard Brundig, Robin Wright
SCR Ari Folman
CAM Michael Englert
ED Nili Feller
PROD DES David Polonsky
MUS Max Richter
PROD CO Bridgit Folman Film Gang / Pandora Film


Ari Forman follows his groundbreaking animated documentary Waltz with Bashir with an equally bold and brilliant movie. A meta-textual Hollywood satire starring the actress Robin Wright as herself, it morphs midway into a full blown sci-fi cartoon, but only to cut even closer to the philosophical bone in its investigation of femininity, fantasy and virtual reality.

Inspired by Stanislav Lem’s novel The Futurological Congress, and, no doubt, by his own exposure to C21 Los Angeles, Forman delves into a make believe world where a beautiful, talented, mature actress like Robin Wright (The Princess Bride; Forrest Gump) is considered all but washed up. Miramount studio head Danny Huston does have one last proposition for her though, a deal that will guarantee her riches for life and fame well beyond that. He wants to scan her, sample her, and take full rights to the virtual Robin Wright, the first true movie immortal. Only one condition: the actual Robin must never act again.

It’s a Faustian bargain too good to turn down. But that’s only the beginning. Peering 20 years into the future, Forman imagines the synthesis of movies, computers and chemistry, where anyone with money can live vicariously through their avatars of choice, 24/7. A visionary film that takes its place alongside Brazil, Blade Runner and Solaris, The Congress is a savagely funny and surprisingly moving commentary on our increasing reliance on screens—not just to watch, but to hide behind.

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