Awards 12 December 2015
Print Page

European Animated Feature Film

European Film Academy Animated Feature Film
The Congress Israel, Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium (120 min)

Director: Ari Folman
Screenwriter: Ari Folman
Producer: Robin Wright, Reinhard Brundig, Ari Folman
Director of Photography: Michal Englert
Editor: Nili Feller
Production Design: David Polonsky
Costume Design: Mandi Line
Original Score: Max Richter
Sound Design: Aviv Aldema
Main Cast: Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Keitel, John Hamm, Robin Wright
Animation: Yoni Goodman

Robin Wright, playing the role of herself, gets an offer from a major studio to sell her cinematic identity: she'll be numerically scanned and sampled so that her alias can be used with no restrictions in all kinds of Hollywood films - even the most commercial ones that she previously refused. In exchange she receives loads of money, but more importantly, the studio agrees to keep her digitalized character forever young - for all eternity - in all of their films. The contract is valid for 20 years. THE CONGRESS follows Robin as she makes her comeback after the contract expires, straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.
Director's Statement

In his novel "The Futurological Congress", the great science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem foresaw a world-wide chemical dictatorship run by the leading pharmaceutical companies. Written in the late 1960s, the book depicted drug manufacturers' complete control of our entire range of emotions, from love and longings, to jealousy and deadly fear. Lem, considered sci-fi's greatest prophet and philosopher (alongside Philip K. Dick), could not have realized how prescient he was in predicting the start of the third millennium. Into the psychochemical whirlwind foreseen by Lem, the film adaptation of his novel introduces the current cinematic technologies of 3-D and motion capture, which threaten to eradicate the cinema we grew up on. In the post-AVATAR era, every filmmaker must ponder whether the flesh and blood actors who have rocked our imagination since childhood can be replaced by computer-generated 3-D images. Can these computerized characters create in us the same excitement and enthusiasm, and does it truly matter? The film, entitled THE CONGRESS, takes 3-D computer images one step further, developing them into a chemical formula that every customer may consume through prescription pills, thereby compiling in their minds the movies they have always wanted to see, staging their fantasies, and casting the actors they adore. In this world, these beloved creatures of stage and cinema become futile relics, lacking in content, remembered by no one. Where, then, do these actors go after selling their souls and identities to the studio devil? THE CONGRESS comprises quasi-documentary live-action sequences that follow one such actress, Robin Wright, as she accepts an offer to be scanned and signs a contract selling her identity to the studio, then transitions into an animated world that depicts her tribulations after selling her image, up until the moment when the studio turns her into a chemical formula. Only the mesmerizing combination of animation - with the beautiful freedom it bestows on cinematic interpretation - and quasi-documentary live-action, can illustrate the transition made by the human mind between psychochemical influence and deceptive reality. THE CONGRESS is primarily a futuristic fantasy, but it is also a cry for help and a profound cry of nostalgia for the old-time cinema we know and love.