“The Congress” or, I am sorry, ma’am but I think there was acid in the water

I was sitting on the plane and, finding nothing of interest in the main section of movies, tried “avant garde”, whereupon I opened  “The Congress”. It was as if  I fell into the world of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, while still seated in an airplane.

The movie is based inspired by the wonderful work of Stanislaw Lem, the Polish science fiction writer, who wrote “The Futurological Congress” in 1971 in the depths of Communist Poland. Lem’s book has the same relationship to the movie as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” has to “Blade Runner“.

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I do not know quite how to describe this movie, except that it is a brilliant science fiction parody of where life seems to be heading. It starts with the bodaceous Robin Wright, as a fictional version of herself, playing an actress receiving her final offer ever, to be digitized, whereafter she may never act again. In order to earn enough money to help her son, who is going blind and deaf, she takes the money. For the next twenty years Miramount-Nagasaki Corporation uses her digital imaging to create new movies with her as the heroine. Cut to the scene of Robin Wright, twenty years older, driving down the Mojave desert highway in her equally shapely Porsche convertible, stopping at the guard booth. She is given an ampoule of something by the attendant, which she snorts, and then things get really weird.

The film switches from realistic to cartoon, and goes from there. It is not clear at any further point in the film whether it is all in her mind, so to speak, or whether the hallucination is collective. My bet is that we are meant to believe that Miramount-Nagasaki’s drugs are intended to create a consensual hallucination. That’s just the start.

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I really think you would like this movie, or even if you do not exactly like it, you will be overwhelmed, but DO NOT take your remaining acid before watching it, please.

the-congress

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