Monday, 23 December 2013


The sci-fi details in Ari Folman's sci-fi film The Congress are vague, as they ought to be. The less you explain, the easier it is to accept. And that's all that you need to do: accept it. Using all manner of dazzling craft in his filmmaking arsenal, Folman languishes not on those details but on the emotional details, and the emotive power that can be wrought from them. It's a true artist who can assemble so very much, in so very ambitious a movie, and distill it all to the most basic themes, and find so pure and direct a route to one's heart. Even technically, The Congress is enormously creative, and conceptually it helps mark Folman out as one of contemporary cinema's foremost innovators. But much as his technique looks forward, his thoughts look back on ourselves, to the feelings we dare not divulge but which influence our every decision. His are traditional concerns, borne out via non-traditional means. The technological trepidation expressed by his screenplay, from Stanislaw Lem's novel, is not cautionary but cautious, in a practical sense, and thus it is fitting that he wields his own artistic technology so sensitively throughout, and ever with one eye on what effect it might achieve on the viewer. By a certain point, the effect it had on me was of a single, unrelenting throb in my chest, the mildest sensation of having been winded, a sustained anxiety bordering on teariness, and a curious empathetic feeling. Need I explicate the quality of each element of The Congress' production now? I don't think so, but I am compelled to note striking production design by David Polonsky, canny scoring by Max Richter and, of course, Yoni Goodman's stunning animation. And the contribution to the film entire by Robin Wright, in a truly awe-inspiring capacity that intellectually breaches the dramatic fourth wall, and thus involves you in her story, as factual as it is fictional, as absorbing as it is stirring.

You're an unutterable fool if you don't heed my advice and listen to this song ^^