NYFF Spotlight: Carnage

Film: Carnage
Director: Roman Polanski
Program: Opening Night
Tickets: Sept. 30: 6:30p 7:00p 9:00p 9:30p

Why you should see it:
Clocking in at a brisk 80 minutes, Roman Polanski’s latest follows the events of an evening in New York City when a pair of couples are brought together after their kids are involved in a playground fight. Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly star as parents who get together to broker peace on behalf of their sons, but as the sun sets outside the small Brooklyn apartment, they lose sight of their mission and go at each other with a litany of cutting, often hilarious verbal volleys. The adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s play, God of Carnage holds up a mirror to modern urban parents and may even hit close to home for some. Quotable and funny, Carnage is sure to stoke cocktail chatter on the opening night of the New York Film Festival.

Track record:
The film has only screened at the recent Venice Film Festival in Italy.

What the critics are saying:
"Snappy, nasty, deftly acted and perhaps the fastest-paced film ever directed by a 78-year-old," praised Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter after the film's recent premiere in Venice. "Carnage is a marital-arts action film with words as the weapons of domestic destruction," wrote Richard Corliss in Time Magazine. "Thanks to the coruscating dialogue and four tremendous central performances, the film transcends its stage origins," wrote Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent.

"The film barely puts a foot wrong. The acting comes at full throttle while the pacing cranks up the tension in agonising, incremental degrees," said Xan Brooks from The Guardian, while Variety critic Justin Chang offered, "Carnage unfolds in something close to real time in a Brooklyn apartment, and its single-set confinement recalls Polanski's similarly claustrophobic studies of urban alienation in Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant."

About the director:
The 49th edition of the New York Film Festival brings Roman Polanski full circle. His first feature, Knife In The Water screened at the first NYFF back in 1963 and now his latest film is opening the 2011 edition. Now 78 years old, Roman Polanski has been an acclaimed filmmaker and highly controversial public figure for nearly his entire career as a name director. Nominated for an Oscar for Knife in the Water, Polanski has since been nominated five more times. His 2002 film The Pianist won both the Palme d'Or in Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Director.

What the NYFF programmers say:
"From Knife in the Water to Repulsion to The Tenant, Roman Polanski has shown himself to be an absolute master at making the most restricted spaces come to dramatic life. In Carnage, aided by four remarkable performances, he has reached a new pinnacle in his already extraordinary career."

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