The Congress – film review

A vision of things to come from director Ari Folman. The Congress is a curate’s egg large enough to have been laid by Big Bird, the director is Ari Folman, swerving between animation and live action. The result is a film of two halves, though possibly more.

We begin in the flesh, just a nudge into the future. Actress Robin Wright, star of films including Forrest Gump, plays actress Robin Wright, star of films including Forrest Gump, a meta-flourish that by the end will seem sedate. Now in middle-age, she is being pressured to let studio technicians create a digitised, infinitely pliant copy of herself, to be cast forever in any film they like. Thus far, we’re in a terrific movie business satire, Sunset Boulevard updated for the age of ones and zeros.

Only then we’re 20 years ahead. Humanity has decamped to an animated realm in which we’ve given up the real for cartoonish alter-egos. Our new home is a psychedelic Weimar-wood with fascist tints and luminous robot butlers, where untold souls masquerade as celebrities from all eras. A self-cooking lobster is served, of course, by Michael Jackson. The plot, if not lost, has stopped answering the phone. Eventually, you may ask the way to a cold flannel.

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