In the wake of this well-deserved media frenzy, Ari Folman quickly announced that his next feature would be in a different genre: science fiction. And that this time he would mix animation and flesh and blood actors.
Conceived in the greatest secrecy, The Congress was partly produced in Belgium and co-financed by Wallimage. It will open the Directors’ Fortnight on Thursday, May 16 at 7:30 pm.
The film also received a Crossmedia grant from the Walloon fund for a very innovative promotion project that will be used worldwide by the different distributors. This is a wonderful window on Walloon know-how, which comes at the right time, since all the fund’s communication in Cannes this year will revolve around Crossmedia, a field in which our region particularly excels.
In Cannes, The Congress promises to be a great event. Folman discovered Stanisalw Lem’s novel in 1971 when he was 16 years old: it was an allegory about the communist regime in which a dictatorial state gives its citizens drugs to control them more easily. Fascinated by the story, he reread it later during his graduate studies, and when he was looking for an idea for his new film, the book came quite naturally to his mind.
“After Waltz with Bashir, when I asked myself what I wanted to do with my life, one thing was obvious: I wanted to do something that would be 180 degrees away from what I had already done,” the director explained to haaretz.com, one of the few sites that collected his first confidences. “From my point of view, Waltz was a demanding project, but there were zero expectations from the audience, so it was an intimate work. It was just me and a few presenters. The work on The Congress was completely different: I embarked on a tour that lasted for months and I didn’t stop talking. From my perspective, it was an exhausting endeavor. “
In the end, The Congress is a very personal adaptation of Lem’s book and takes many liberties, sometimes deviating radically from the source. Robin Wright who we have just seen again with great pleasure in the fabulous series House of Cards plays her own role, that of an aging actress who receives a surprising offer from a Hollywood studio: she is asked to build a three-dimensional figure that will be her perfect double. A double who will now play in her place in all the films she could have claimed. In this way, it will remain forever young for the spectators. The studio will grant her a generous sum, which ensures her a golden retirement, but forces her to give up her acting career completely. Captivating? This is just the beginning! The development of the plot is even more surprising.
Alongside the sculptural Robin Wright, the filmmaker brought together Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm and Danny Huston. They will evolve both live and via animations in a virtual universe partly realized in Belgium by the Walking the Dog studios. All the special effects were done at the Pole Image of Liege by Mikros Belgium.
Entre Chien et Loup took care of all the Belgian production and beyond, because Diana Elbaum followed closely from the very beginning this fabulous project that we will finally discover this Thursday, May 16 in Cannes. Maximum curiosity.