The Congress

DAY THREE OF THE 2014 NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

RobinBeforeHalf-animated follow-up to his masterful Waltz with Bashir is a total flop for Folman.

The idea is certainly interesting: 40-something Robin Wright agrees to have her essence as an actress digitized on the condition that she-the real person-never act again. She is give the studio the right to manipulate her digitized self to meet their own needs.

But the execution of this idea is a total disaster. (JLH: 2/5)

Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. For the record, Rich–who also stayed in his seat until the bitter end–completely agrees with my negative assessment.

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A sad & strange mess of a movie… Ari Folman’s long-awaited follow-up to his Oscar-nominated feature Waltz with Bashir starts with an interesting premise, but then it utterly fails in the execution.

I felt an inescapable sense of foreboding in the very first minutes, but kept myself seated until the bitter end, just so I could say my say. And here it is: I have seen The Congress so you don’t have to 🙁

In the beginning we meet a forty-something actress named “Robin Wright” played by the real Robin Wright, who has two children (a teenage girl & her younger brother) just like the real Robin Wright (who once called herself “Robin Wright Penn” & was long-married to actor Sean Penn).

Wright’s agent is played by Harvey Keitel & he has come to her with a proposal from a studio heavy played by Danny Huston. The studio wants to digitize Wright so they can use her actor-essence in future films without having to endure any of her personal drama. (Lots of chatter about “bad choices,” without ever mentioning the name Sean Penn…)

The catch: Penn can never work as an actress ever again. Should she appear on stage or screen–even in Community Theatre–she will be in breach of contract. She accepts.

Skip ahead 20 years & we are now in a fully animated world where we accompany Wright–in animated form–to The Congress… which turns out to be dull as Hell & ugly as Sin.

If you decide to go anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Top Photo: Live Robin Wright undergoes digitization procedure. Bottom: Robin Wright 20 years later at The Congress. Live Photo Credit: Dale Robinette/Animation: Wolf Consultants

Click HERE to read my review of Waltz with Bashir with a link to my chat with Ari Folman.

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    Over the years, Max Richter’s music has been repeatedly described as nostalgic, elegiac or cinematic. It then comes as no surprise that his music has been used on the soundtrack of films like Shutter Island or for the trailers of several recent films such as J. Edgar, Prometheus or even Terrence Malick’s latest opus To the Wonder. A Shadow journal is another case in point, and it is interesting to examine how two tracks from The Blue Notebooks ended up being used on Ari Folman’s ground breaking anti-war animated documentary Waltz with Bashir.

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