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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Congressional Medal of Weird

The Congress, Ari Folman's film based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem (The Futurological Congress) - follows five years after Folman's equally inventive and thought provoking Waltz with Bashir. Like Waltz... The Congress also combines animation with live action footage to great dramatic effect, propelling the viewer into an increasingly psychedelic other-world that presents huge challenges to Robin Wright's state of mind. She is playing an alternate univers-ion of herself, and is surrounded by a very fine cast including Harvey Keitel; Paul Giamatti; Jon Hamm; and Danny Huston (a stand out) who are joined by Kodi Smit-McPhee (still to cast off the ineffectuality of Let Me In) and Sami Gayle. The Congress is a bold attempt to visualise what clearly must be a challenging novel. There is a lot to admire in the attempt, including some good performances, grand animation and an effective score, again by contemporary composer Max Richter. It's a pity that The Congress did not find a bigger audience, since Folman is a very interesting filmmaker, clearly not afraid to take on what must be difficult projects. His next film should be eagerly awaited.

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