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Ari Folman's Animated Live-Action Hybrid 'The Congress' to Open Cannes Directors' Fortnight, Not in Competition

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood April 19, 2013 at 1:08PM

Ari Folman's sci-fi film "The Congress," which is part realist live-action, part fantasy animation and stars Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Keitel and Kodi Smit-McPhee, will open the Cannes sidebar Director's Fortnight on May 16. Folman wrote and directed Israel's Oscar-nominated foreign film "Waltz with Bashir," an animated documentary which was slotted in the main Cannes competition, so this is something of a comedown for the established filmmaker, opening night or no. (Trailer below.)
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"The Congress"
"The Congress"

Ari Folman's sci-fi film "The Congress," which is part realist live-action, part fantasy animation and stars Robin Wright, Jon Hamm, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Keitel and Kodi Smit-McPhee, will open the Cannes sidebar Director's Fortnight on May 16. Folman wrote and directed Israel's Oscar-nominated foreign film "Waltz with Bashir," an animated documentary which was slotted in the main Cannes competition, so this is something of a comedown for the established filmmaker, opening night or no. (Trailer below.)

In the 123-minute film, which is a liberal reworking of Stanislaw Lem's 1971 novel "The Futurological Congress," Robin Wright plays herself, an aging actress who sells Hollywood the digital rights to her younger image. Here's our First Look, in which Folman explains how the film splits present-day live action with an animated future, which takes the character forward 20 years. Folman wanted to cast an actress who was willing to play herself in the role; he considered Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Jason Leigh and others. Folman supervised animation in five countries on this Israeli/Polish/French coproduction from his Jaffa studio, where he made "Bashir."

The full Directors Fortnight lineup will be revealed on Tuesday, April 23 by programmer Edouard Waintrop.

This article is related to: Festivals, Cannes Film Festival, Ari Folman, Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Harvey Keitel


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.