Ari Folman, the director behind the stunning “Waltz with Bashir,” has delivered something altogether different with his latest, “The Congress.” The movie is basically two movies in one that are sort of connected. On one hand, it’s a very effective satire of the current and future state of the movies and the acting profession. On the other, it’s an existential (and animated) meditation on identity, technology, and life that creates a completely different vibe from the live action segments. Both are good, but I confess to being a little more interested in the first, live action part of the movie, that which deals with an aging actress getting a very strange offer. Robin Wright, playing a partially fictionalized version of herself, is approaching her mid-forties, a time where Hollywood normally starts turning its back on “B grade” female stars. She’s never truly blossomed into the bona fide movie star her agent (Harvey Keitel) and studio head (Danny Huston) thought she would become based on her work in “The Princess Bride.” So the studio has a plan, one that will return her to her youthful glory and ensure she will never have to truly act again. They want to scan her image and emotions so that they can keep her forever young at the movies. After a fantastic scanning sequence, the film switches gears into an animated film that goes off in a different direction. Wright is great here, and the movie is an overall stylistic success. I was just a little more interested in the non-animated part.
Director: Ari Folman
Producer: Reinhard Brundig, Sébastien Delloye, Piotr Dzieciol and Diana Elbaum
Cast: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Sami Gayle, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm, Michael Landes and Sarah Shahi