The Arty Semite

First Peek at Ari Folman's New Film

By Forward Staff

  • Print
  • Share Share

The first trailer is out for Ari Folman’s new film, “The Congress” (see here for background), and though I hate to say it, it’s a little disappointing.

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for ages, mainly because it seems like the perfect creative pairing.

Folman, in his 2008 film “Waltz With Bashir,” used groundbreaking animation techniques to create a movie of impressive psychological depth and intensity.

“The Futurological Congress,” the book by Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem on which “The Congress” is based, is a hallucinatory look at a possible future in which humanity has drugged itself with psychoactive chemicals in order to make an overpopulated, resource-exhausted world bearable to live in.

I was hoping that combining Folman’s animated storytelling technique with Lem’s multi-layered dystopia would produce something like Satoshi Kon’s “Paprika,” another animated exploration of the mind’s slipperiest states.

Instead, Folman began by chucking Lem’s original narrative, in favor of a story in which an actress named Robin Wright gives a movie studio permission to digitize her entirely, and to own the rights to the character that was once her. It’s a decent premise, but it’s hard to tell where Folman is going with it.

More troubling, Folman has opted to make the movie part live-action, part animated. It fits with the idea of the story — a real person who becomes a digital person — but, from the trailer at least, the two elements don’t seem to have much connecting them. Mixtures of live action and animation are often disappointing (think of Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World,” for example), and I’m hoping this isn’t another example of that.

Still, it would be unfair to judge the movie on the basis of just the trailer. It’s set to premiere at Cannes on May 16, and we’ll get a few early reactions then. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to see it myself not too long after that.

Though my expectations are diminished, my hopes are still alive. Here’s to the chance that it’ll be the best movie of the year.

Watch the trailer for ‘The Congress:’


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Film, Cannes Film Festival, Ari Folman, Animation, The Congress

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.