In 1963, Roman Polanski’s debut feature film Knife in the Water screened at the inaugural New York Film Festival; five decades later it’s just been announced that his most recent film Carnage will open the 49th New York Film Festival, which opens on September 30.
Carnage, based on Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award stage comedy The God of Carnage, features two couples, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly and Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz, who meet in a Brooklyn apartment for a tempestuous evening after their children are involved in a playground fight.
“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,” commented Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Last Thursday Carnage had its World Premier at the 68th Venice Film Festival, receiving a generally positive reaction from critics, and the biggest cheer of the week to date thanks to a hysterical scene featuring Kate Winslet projectile vomiting.
When asked about the scene the actress told reporters “It was absolutely hilarious shooting the vomit sequence. We were all completely beside ourselves with laughter. I had to contain a lot of vomit in my mouth which is not possible for a person to do. So without going into too much detail, it was a fairly complex rig and there was some extremely clever CGI involved”
Christoph Waltz who plays Winslet’s husband in the film added “that the vomit was prepared according to Roman’s recipe.” Just what you would expect from a director credited with having an opinion on absolutely everything in his films.
There is more to this comedy than just Winslet’s vomit, with all four actors receiving glowing reviews. Trade magazine Variety released an informal poll of critics which has Carnage as the top contender to win the Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion award) for Best Picture. It faces stiff competition from other festival highlights; George Clooney's political thriller The Ides of March and Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
This year the judging panel is lead by director Darren
Aronofsky (Black Swan), and the winners will be announced on September 10th.
Throughout September Roman Polanski is featured in our Directors’
Showcase, giving you the opportunity to view a selection of his work from his “golden decade” of filmmaking (the early 60s to the early 70s).
Screening this Sunday (11th September, 8.30pm) is Polanski’s second feature film Repulsion, one of his “evil apartment” films - think Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant, and now Carnage. Inspired by Hitchcock, Cocteau and Buñuel, Repulsion is a claustrophobic thriller and character portrait of a sexually repressed, mentally-ill young woman, Carol (Catherine Deneuve), left alone in her apartment. If you want to see Polanski at his best, don’t miss it.