This is an email review: Dear Milgro, just saw an incredible half animation film at the Budapest Israeli film week that I need to tell a film savvy person like yourself, about -- while it is still fresh in my mind. Name of Film "The Congress" -- or "The Futurological Congress" (2013), directed by an Israeli, Ari Folman, but having nothing else Israeli about it. In fact it stars actress Robin Wright and an elderly looking Harvey Keitel (now 75?) plus other Hollywood actors and is all set in Southern California ~ language English --with Hungarian subtitles -- (which I had to rely on half of the time because I left my hearing aid home!)
Anyway, what is so unusual about this film is that about halfway through, after an inter-title saying "Twenty years later" it abruptly launches into highly stylized and imaginative Animation -- like Disney on LSD -- and stays that way for the whole second half of the film! -- which seems endless because it is so taxing on the imagination, but nevertheless starkly beautiful as far as the animation imagery is concerned -- grotesquely beautiful at times -- but so jaw-dropping and eye-popping that it truly reminded me of some of the LSD trips I took myself in the Bad Olde days of the psychedelic sixties --- Middle-aged Actress Robin Wright I had never seen before but was vaguely aware of the fact that she was once married to Sean Penn-- a personality I personally detest -- and Keitel, one of my fave actors, was only in it for a while at the beginning, as Robin's agent trying to cut a deal for her to make a comeback, with a sleazy producer at the "Miramount" film Studio, and gives a only a pale imitation of his former dynamic tough guy self, recognizable mainly because he still uses the the F word in every other sentence.
Wright, playing herself directly as an over the hill star actress, 44, but still making strong professional demands, became increasingly interesting as the film went on -- playing incidentally on references to the Wright Brothers first heavier than air flight in 1908. Much of it takes place at some kind of informal airbase out in the desert where her terminally ill son flies kites endangering the landing of real planes and is obsessed by the Wright brothers first primitive aircraft --- but when it goes to animation and Wright is shown as a green eyed living cartoon avatar of herself it really goes to town and becomes something else altogether -- kind of jaw dropping without fully understanding what is going on -- (like an acid trip) -- all of which finally made sense when I noticed in the copious end credits that the whole thing was based on a story by Polish Sci-Fi genius Stanislaw Lem -- who also wrote another mind-bender, "Planet Solaris" (filmed in Russian by Tarkovsky in 1972)
The title refers to the second half of the picture wherein actress Wright is driving serenely through the desert in an open late model car and suddenly comes to a gate in the middle of the road where a Guard in uniform bars her way but offers her the option of driving on if she is willing to attend the Futurological New Technology World Congress that is going on just beyond the gate. This she agrees to and presently enters a Parallel Universe of psychedelic hallucinations that takes over the entire second half of the movie. There she will re-encounter people she has lost track of including her son who died, and she herself will die but be reborn. Intimations of Immortality! This amazing picture was premiered at Cannes in 2013. Just wondering if you have ever heard anything about it. At Toronto or elsewhere.
Anyway, good buddy -- This was one of the most unusual films I have ever seen, but I am rather a big fan of the kind of semi-realistic hallucinatory animation that was employed non-stop in Part 2 -- so, la-dee-dah. It would make one helluvan evening's entertainment as a double feature: "The Congress"with "Planeta Solaris" (the Tarkovsky edition). BTW: it was partly a Chien-Loup production -- a company that takes on projects others wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
Alex, Budapest December 7, 2016. Give it Eight stars and two tabs of white Ousley.
Review by alexdeleonfilm from the Internet Movie Database.