This is exiting news! Ari Folman, the man who made the wonderful and touching autobiographical documentary Waltz With Bashir (see the trailer below), has acquired the rights to Stanislaw Lem’s short story ‘The Futurological Congress’. It’s one of the Lem stories that invites comparison to Philip K. Dick, as his sometime hero Ijon Tichy finds himself in what appears to be a utopian society, before being plunged into a nightmare set of hallucinations and drugged paranoia.
According to THR, Folman will open the film with live-action, then infuse it with animation over time. “Think of your favorite young
actress,” Folman said. “She’ll appear that way at the beginning, and then as the
film goes on, she’ll be drawn like she’s 50.” With that in mind, and given the story’s drugged text, I hope there isn’t the assumption that this will just be A Scanner Darkly all over again. Maybe it will be. But Lem and Folman each have their own disctint voice, and if the depth of feeling and beautiful imagery that characterized Waltz With Bashir are intact in this adaptation, we might have a wonderful and unexpected addition to Lem’s sci-fi catalogue on film.