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CARNAGE

Production Notes
Academy Award®-winning director Roman Polanski directs Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz in Carnage, the screen adaptation of the smash comedy play "God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza.

The bitterly amusing story of two families who become locked in a showdown after their children are involved in a playground squabble, Carnage shines a spotlight on the risible contradictions and grotesque prejudices of four well-heeled American parents. Shot in real time as the four adults meet to settle the dispute, Carnage pits power couple Nancy and Alan Cowan against the liberal writer and campaigner Penelope Longstreet and her wholesaler husband, Michael. Unpredictable and shocking, the film hilariously exposes the hypocrisy lurking behind their polite façade.

Hailed by the critics and public alike, the play enjoyed sell-out runs in Paris, London and on Broadway after its premiere in 2006 and won a slew of awards at both the Olivier Awards and the Tony® Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play.

As soon as he saw the play, Roman Polanski knew it would make an exciting film. "The tone of the play was hilarious and the pace fast-moving. What particularly attracted me was the real-time action. I'd never made a film without the slightest ellipse and I don't remember ever seeing one either.”

Polanski brought on the author of the play, Yasmina Reza, to adapt it for the screen. Originally set in Paris, the play's location was moved to New York when it was transferred to Broadway in 2009. It is in Brooklyn that Polanski chose to set his film adaptation. "The spirit of the play seemed to me more American than French and Brooklyn would be a likely place for this kind of liberal family to live.”

The director also wanted to remain faithful to the play's real-time setting where the action unfolds over 90 minutes without breaks and in one location - despite the challenges that would mean. "It's a challenge to make a film in real time,” says Polanski. "Ever since I was a child I enjoyed films that evolved in a single location far more than action films. I like the sensation of the proximity to the characters, similar to the feeling to be found in Dutch paintings such as Van Eyck's The Arnolfini Wedding, where the artist gives the spectator the sensation of being in the room. I've made films before set in an enclosed space, but not as rigorously self-contained as on this occasion, so that was a new experience.”

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