Sunday, March 30

FeaturesSpecial Events ArchiveBoston Underground Film Festival 2014

The Congress

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New England Premiere!

2013, Israel/France, 122 min.
Director Ari Folman
Screenwriter Ari Folman, Stanislaw Lem
Cast Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti

Borrowing from Polish sci-fi visionary Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 “The Futurological Congress,” Ari Folman throws Hollywood everywoman Robin Wright (as herself) into an illusory alternate reality.

The world of The Congress resembles a Philip K. Dick prognostication, where big pharma and the entertainment world have melded into an enormous mind- fucking parasite living off of human- kind’s blissful, drug-fueled ignorance. In subtle shades of Tithonus and Faust, Wright is presented with a final studio offer that guarantees eternal youth—of a sort—and financial recompense in exchange for full control over her cinematic identity. Once digitally “scanned,” the actress known as Robin Wright is to become the property and puppet of Miramount Studios while the flesh-and- blood Wright is contractually prohibited from acting or performing in any manner ever again.

With two children to provide for and no other options in a world that increasingly prefers digital to the real deal, Wright sells her soul. Movies starring an ageless Wright come and go, placing her in roles that she would never have considered. After twenty years have passed, the reclusive Wright emerges to attend the Futurological Congress, where Miramount unveils the next iteration of entertainment: the ability to transform into animated avatars and even to become one’s idol. Approached to endorse this latest innovation, Wright has a crisis of conscience that coincides with a rebel attack against the Congress.

Part live-action, part lysergic animation, The Congress criticizes both the Hollywood machine and the obsessive system of pop-worship and consumption that fuels it. Wright is afforded the rare opportunity to explore, succumb to, and exorcise the Hollywood demons of ageism and sexism while clinging to her last shreds of humanity in a world that spends its days wandering in a paracosmic daze. Beautiful and bizarre, Folman’s latest evokes InceptionAbre los ojos, and Synecdoche, New York, with a Bakshian color palette and potent portent.

— Nicole McControversy

Click a showtime to purchase tickets:

  • Sunday, March 30 at 6:15 PM

Tickets $10, $8 Brattle Members. Brattle passes not accepted for festival screenings.