Reviews of Folman's The Congress
no-image, Reviews of Folman's The Congress
Reviews of Ari Folman's The Congress have been positive, contributing to audience anticipation. Opening in Polish cinemas in September, the film is based on a novel by Stanisław Lem.
cannes film festival 2013
Robin Wright in The Congress, directed by Ari Folman, photo: Gutek Film.
Ari Folman’s Congress opens in Polish cinemas in September. The film, based on a novel by Stanisław Lem, features Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel and Paul Giamatti in its cast.
"I regard him as a visionary writer and philosopher", the director says. "Lem wrote The Futurological Congress in the late sixties, but predicted many events that followed later on. He depicted the world, in fact, as it is today".
Folman’s film is based on Kongres futurologiczny / The Futurological Congress, published in 1971. It explores the strong position of pharmaceutical companies and the human belief that all solutions to problems like broken hearts, emotional crisis and grief can be resolved by an appropriately selected drug. But this is only one of the insights the work can offer - Folman goes on to say that “When I was a teenager I read The Futurological Congress and I enjoyed the psychedelic layer. Later on I saw in the story an allegory for communism in the 60’s.”
'The Congress dazzles with its grandiosity and acting, though it remains an unfulfilled promise' - read Bartosz Staszczyszyn's review
The world premiere of his film adaptation, The Congress, was held at the Cannes Film Festival 2013. Reviews praised it, describing “an incredible film oddessy” and “a delightful movie that’s ahead of its time”. They also placed the director amongst luminaries, and had “Ari Folman as Kubrick, Orwell, and Huxley.” The Polish distributor for the film, Gutek Film, describe the production as “an innovative and daring film that’s full of ideas. These appear in a distorted mirror that reflects a world of unlimited possibilities through the use of technology, the application of which will soon allow us to dictate the limits of our freedom and desires.”
Blending acting and animation, The Congress tells the story of an actress who signs a contract with a film company effectively giving them rights to her identity. The studio is then able to use the never-aging image of the actress in future productions. Boundaries between reality and fiction in The Congress become blurred and both the story and the film raise question about human identity. "What does it mean to be called someone", Folman asks, "and what is the freedom involved in human choices?"
Ari Folman was born in 1962 in Haifa and has Polish roots. His parents survived the Holocaust then met in Łodz after the Second World War then decided to emigrate to Israel. The filmmaker has both Polish and Israeli citizenship. "When it comes to knowledge of the Polish language", he says, "I understand a lot, but I do not speak Polish because I lack the confidence".
Folman’s directing credits include Waltz with Bashir (2008), which was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Foreign Language Picture as well as a Golden Palm at the Cannes Festival. The director announced that his next film will be shot in Poland but has not released details.
Sources: PAP, author: Lucyna Szura 20/09/2013
Translation: SMG 23/09/2013