Dienstag, 20. August 2013

The Congress, by Ari Folman, opens the Fantasy Film Festival

Ari Folman talking about the Congress, at the Apple Store
Berlin is stereotypically called as 'the place to be' but it can be as well be considered a fantasy place where one most likely will encounter a lot of outstanding unbelievable adventures. In other words, 'the place you did not know you can be'. Hosting here a Fantasy Film Festival sounds more than natural, even though the caravan of movies will move till the mid-September in 6 more German towns: Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Koeln and Nuerenberg.
Till the caravan is put into motion, the next eight days are a good opportunity to see how far the human creativity can get. Very often, you don't need to go too far to find the right inspiration. The film maker Ari Folman - Waltz with Bashir - decided to give a 21st century translation to Stanislaw Lem's novel The Futurological Congress. The movie was presented at Cannes in May and 10 days ago in Warsaw, to some members of Lem's family - the author died a couple of years ago. From 12 September, the Congress will be on the screens of German movie theatres. 
After carrying the burden of the international success of Waltz with Bashir, Folman said that wanted to get some distance from politics and wars. The Congress explores the limits of cinematographic imagination and out of time travel by mixing fragments of reality, real actors action and animation. Robin Wrights plays his own role, being an actress looking to keep herself young for ever. She will enter a Disneyland reality of the future, with a religious preacher emulating Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, Frida Kahlo and Osama bin Laden, among others. (As for Folman, if he will once be a character in his own animated movie, he will rather prefer to take about the future of entertainment over a vegetarian meal with Frank Zappa). The movie combines around 40 minutes of 'real action' followed by a lot of animation activity. In order to create a good and credible inspiration to the team working the animation - based in Tel Aviv - the entire movie was filmed with real actors. 
The movie was made in 9 locations, among which Berlin, Northern Westphalia and California. Folman recognized that the technology challenged changed completely the way in which movies are made, but did not see a reason to worry about it. 'It's fine, it's life', he said giving the example of the young kids growing up with computer games and iPads who did not care if the characters from movies are 'real' or not.

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