After reading so many complaints posted on the web about the lack of originality in modern movies, one would think there would be a lot of support and praise towards a film that tries to do something different and unique, but it seems that complex (or merely unconventional) narratives are loathed here on IMDb. But then again, this is the same website that gives extremely inflated ratings to a lot of generic superhero flicks. It is also the only website where a show like "Mr. Pickles" could be rated so high.
Anyway, "The Congress" is a wonderful film. Of all the movies that combined live-action with animation through the history of cinema, this might be my favorite. Plot-wise, "The Congress" might be closer to movies like "Inland Empire" rather than "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". And the balance between the live-action parts with the animation is simply excellent.
Some people say that it would have been better if the "Hallucination" parts were done in live-action, but I disagree: The animation sequences (Which make a marvelous combination of psychedelia with an art style reminiscent of the work of Max Fleischer) not only gives the story a proper dream-like feel to the story (Opposed to a dry and forgettable portrayal of dreams as it was seen in movies like "Inception") but also serve as a subtle commentary about modern-day obsession with escapism: It's something admirably subtle the way the thin line between fantasy and reality fades away as the plot of the film progresses, until the bitter reality is finally showed in a rather heartbreaking manner. Like at the end of "Waltz with Bashir", when the animation changes into live-action, we as viewers are forced to confront a harsh reality that cannot be ignored, and that reality is that living with our backs turned to the problems of today only will have dire consequences in the future, and we will have to deal with those consequences in one way or another. I guess that a message like that could be hard to swallow for many viewers, but I personally think that in this day and age, a message like that it's more necessary than ever.
I hope "The Congress" gets eventually vindicated by history. Maybe in the future, people will be able to appreciate more its daring qualities. For now at least, the future of cinema seems bleak, with all the same generic stuff making billions at the box office while the actually challenging movies are perpetually ignored. A shame, really.
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