Imagine being digitally scanned so that your likeness can live forever. Imagine selling your “character” to a film studio so that it can preserve you and re-use you in future. Would you regret that decision and its implications? That’s the plot of The Congress, a French film that looks both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
It’s a weird mix between a dark, live-action film and an anime, and it’s set to have its day in the Sun at the Cannes Film Festival in France this week. The film stars Robin Wright as herself, alongside actors like Harvey Keitel and Jon Hamm. The Congress is directed by Ari Folman.
Here’s the brief synopsis of The Congress:
In the story, an aging actress (Wright) with a disabled child agrees to a large payment to have a full body imaging that will be digitized and utilized to create a digital actress. As part of the agreement, she will no longer control her likeness and the studio will then utilize the new virtual thespian in any manner they see fit. As part of the agreement, she will also be forbidden from acting ever again. The film explores the ramifications of how the new digital actress affects the future of the woman and society as a whole.