‘The Congress’ Trailer Transforms Robin Wright (Playing Robin Wright) into an Existential Cartoon

Credit: ARP Selection

In the two-minute journey that is the trailer for Ari Folman’s The Congress, which will premiere on Thursday at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, you’re bound to find familiarity with any number of other films. When you realize that actress Robin Wright is playing a fantastical, existentialistic version of herself, you’ll think of Being John Malkovich. When you reach the point where the shadows of the Hollywood industry approach Wright with the opportunity to live on eternally as an automated being, you’ll remember S1m0ne (well, if you’re one of the 18 people who saw S1mone). And when Wright travels quite literally into a realm of animation, living out the impossible in a dazzling and limitless cartoon universe, your mind might go anywhere from Cool World to The Pagemaster. But this movie, ultimately, seems like its own force entirely.

The latest endeavor from filmmaker and documentarian Folman (Waltz with Bashir) seems to grapple with the heavy themes of imagination, show business, and mortality, all while delivering a breathtaking reality that continues to hearken back to cinematic and literary greats: the world screams George Orwell and Philip K. Dick, the visual style a melding of Ralph Bakshi and Sylvain Chomet. But again, there is truly unique life in the The Congress trailer — indisputably worth your attention. 

Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter

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