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The Congress

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Stanisław Lem ‘s “The Futurological Congress” (Kongres futurologiczny, 1971) Adapted for the Screen and Premiered at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival : “The Congress”

The Congress_2013 Cannes Film Festival“The Congress” is an live action/animation film by Ari Folman based on the novel “The Futurological Congress” by speculative fiction author Stanislaw Lem. The film was premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 15th.

“Now, the final product has premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s “The Futurological Congress”, the film uses the idea that in the future hallucinogenic drugs will be used to replace reality, and Folman takes this thought to make a commentary on cinema and its potential demise at the hands of Hollywood overlords seeking new ways to remain stuck in the past rather than move forward into the future. In many ways The Congress creates a complicated, well worn circle where advancements in technology are being used to maintain a hold on the past rather than propel us into the future. Utilizing both live-action and animation, the film begins with Robin Wright playing herself as an aging actress who’s “not even 45” being offered the last role she’ll ever be offered in Hollywood…and the movie shifts into full-on, psychedelic animation and it’s where Lem’s story plays a much larger role as we jump 20 years into the future, Wright’s contract is up and she’s headed to the Futurological Congress at the Miramount Hotel, located in a “restricted animation zone”.” – Brad Brevet

Directed by Ari Folman ; Writing credits : Stanislaw Lem’s “The Futurological Congress” novel and Ari Folman (adaptation) ; With Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Huston, Jon Hamm, Sami Gayle, Michael Stahl-David, Michael Landes, Aaron Wright, Sarah Shahi.

The Congress_2013

“One of the most talked about (and seemingly divisive) films of the Cannes Festival so far, Ari Folman’s The Congress is an ambitious, trippy spectacle that mashes up movie-biz satire and future-shock sci-fi to mesmerising, if muddled, effect. Based on Solaris writer Stanislaw Lem’s The Futurological Congress, Folman’s mind-bending take on the source novel really is a film of two halves. The first is a biting yet genuinely funny/moving mockery of Tinseltown’s many shortcomings, addressing issues of ageism, sexism and the threat of new-fangled technology on cinema as we know it. The second is a more direct adaptation of Lem’s story, using hallucinogenic, Yellow Submarine-style visuals to portray a Matrix-like world where a psychedelic utopia covers up a much darker reality.” – Richard Jordan

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