The Congress, the highly-anticipated follow up to Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, premiered last month at the Cannes Film Festival, and now Drafthouse Films alongside Films We Like plans to bring it stateside. The movie is a fascinating blend of live action and animation that adapts Stanislaw Lem’s classic short story, “The Futurological Congress”, and follows an aging actress desperate for work (Robin Wright) who takes one last job to support her disabled son (Kodi-Smit McPhee). Wright plays herself, and then is scanned into an animated world where the studio now owns her, but she will be forever young. Judging by the trailer, the movie looks like an absolute trip, and one I’m excited to take. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until 2014 for the movie’s theatrical/VOD release.
Hit the jump for the press release and a new image from The Congress. The film also stars Jon Hamm, Danny Huston, Harvey Keitel, and Paul Giamatti.
DRAFTHOUSE FILMS & FILMS WE LIKE
JOURNEY TO “THE CONGRESS”
Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Opening Film From Oscar® Nominated
Director Ari Folman To Hit Theaters/VOD In 2014
AUSTIN, TX – June 6, 2013 – Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and Films We Like announced today the co-acquisition of North American rights to sci-fi epic The Congress from this year’s Cannes Film Festival in the “Directors’ Fortnight” section. From Oscar®-nominated director Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir), the film stars Robin Wright (“House Of Cards”; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) Jon Hamm (AMC’s “Mad Men”), Paul Giamatti (Sideways; John Dies At The End) and Harvey Keitel (Taxi Driver; Bad Lieutenant). A US theatrical and VOD/digital release is planned for 2014 and Films We Like in Toronto will handle Canadian distribution. US fans who enroll in the “Drafthouse Alliance” subscription program can guarantee pre-order of the film here: drafthousefilms.com/alliance.
Based on legendary science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 novel The Futurological Congress, Folman’s adaptation blends live action and psychedelic animation as an aging, out-of-work actress (Wright in an unusual role playing an alternate reality version of herself) accepts her final job: preserving her digital image for a future Hollywood. 20 years later, Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom and is invited to take part in “The Congress” as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.
Empire Magazine proclaims it “an extraordinary and very touching film that exists somewhere in the twilight zone between the existential brainteasers of Charlie Kaufman and the psychedelic wonders of Hayao Miyazaki.” Highlighting the film’s satirical look at modern Hollywood, Ben Kenisberg for RogerEbert.com adds “[The Congress] is lyrical and mysterious, contemplating age-old sci-fi questions (of artificial intelligence, of perception versus reality) while grafting them onto a commentary about the changing nature of movies.”
“I am extremely excited by the idea that an innovative and passionate company such as Drafthouse Films will be the American distributor for The Congress,” says Director Ari Folman, “and their immediate reaction towards the film felt like love at first sight. I am absolutely confident they will take the film to all those places it is meant to go.”
“The Congress cements Ari Folman’s position as one of the most innovative and provocative filmmakers working today,” says Drafthouse Films CEO Tim League. “It will be a joy to share his creative vision with American audiences.”
Ron Mann of Films We Like adds, “We are ecstatic to release The Congress in tandem with Drafthouse Films. It is a remarkable visionary film and we are honoured to present it to audiences in Canada.”
“We are delighted for our first collaboration with Drafthouse Films, to partner again with Films We Like, and are convinced that The Congress is in the best hands,” said Michael Weber, Managing Director of The Match Factory. “They share our enthusiasm for this unique director’s new film and will do a great job making it visible to the widest possible audience.”