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chemical redemption

Time is now a subjective matter. You decide in your mind when day breaks, or when the moon fades. After a while you probably lose the numeric calendar as we once knew it. New York is now a city of suspended gardens that reach the sky. The wild colors they strike you in full force, and the people are so beautiful, so young and radiant, exuding serenity and beauty and sexuality.

There is no more ego. Thanks to chemistry we've been redeemed. There's no ego, no competition, no violence, no war, no strong or weak, no secrets. Everyone is... what they are. Everyone is what they want to be.

From 'The Congress' (2013), Ari Folman's flawed but fascinating mix of animation and live-action. Very loosely adapted from Stanisław Lem's novel 'The Futurological Congress', it weaves into Lem's chemical science-fiction a whole extra (semi) autobiographical story about actress Robin Wright. The resulting plot is complex and full of loose ends, but contains many thought-provoking ideas.

And visually it's absolutely stunning, including one moment - the transition from its animated, hallucinated world where "everyone is what they want to be" back to grey old, inflexible reality - that not only defines the whole film but also sums up all of its critique of escapist entertainment and pharmaceutical delusion.

The Congress - 1

The Congress - 2

The Congress - 3

Here's an interview with Folman on the making of 'The Congress' and exploring "the boundaries of human identity" in a world of virtual reality.

And here are two music videos / extended trailers of Robin Wright performing 'Forever Young' and 'If It Be Your Will'.


the futurological congress

In 20th century science fiction, both Philip K. Dick and Stanisław Lem were intensely preoccupied with the nature of reality - what is real, how can we know what is real, and what might lie behind it? Lem's 'The Futurological Congress' (1… Read the full post »

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