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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

THE CONGRESS

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  117 minutes, audio commentary, interview, promo spot, trailers, booklet, digital copy

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: none

 

STUDIO: Cinedigm/ Drafthouse Films/ The Match Factory

RELEASE DATE: 12-2-2014

Actress Robin Wright (Robin Wright playing a fictionalized version of herself) is getting less roles when the President (Danny Huston) of Miramount Pictures (basically a fictional studio combing Miramax and Paramount) offers her one last contract to scan her and her emotions so they can create endless pictures with Robin Wright on the condition she never acts again for the next 20 years.   She makes a tough decision to sign the contract with the help of her agent (Harvey Kietel) and spends the next 20 years taking care of her fictionalized son who is going blind.   She decides to visit Miramount about 20 years later where she enters an animation restriction zone to visit the Futurological Congress and everyone basically turns animated looking as THE CONGRESS takes on a surreal animation experience.

 

THE CONGRESS is a very loose adaptation of THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS by great Polish sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem.  Director Ari Folman believes he kept the spirit of the book, but fans of the book expecting an adaptation of the novel will be very disappointed.  The director takes elements from the book and applies it to the experiences of the fictional Robin Wright who is at a hotel where a attack is mounted and everyone is experiencing things through drugs which cause hallucinations.  The animation is in the style of 1920s and 1930s animation (just for an R rated audience) with some of the backgrounds inspired by medieval painters.   I love the book, but I also love the movie for it’s imagery and the commentary on how Hollywood treats actors (and whether they will be replaceable like a thing or a quantity to be duplicated).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The audio commentary by writer/ director Ari Folman and another participant talks about how Ari learned about people scanning during pre-productions, difficulties with actor Harvey Kietel (who sometime would only do one take or say nothing during one scene), the animation, and problems with Robin Wright’s make-up in the desert (that they had to use CGI to age her).

 

Also on the disc are an interview with Robin Wright about the movie and how she came to be involved, a 30 second promo spot, and trailers for THE CONGRESS, BORGMAN, MOOD INDIGO, THE VISITOR, and WRONG.   I wish they had included a featurette on the animation process.

 

In addition to that there is a code for a digital copy of the film and a 16 page booklet.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   Book purists will be disappointed by this adaptation of Lem’s novel, but THE CONGRESS is destined to be a cult film.   The animation sequences are the best part along with the social commentary on star power in Hollywood.

 

This review is 12-4-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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