Rounds of applause and riotous laughter met Roman Polanski’s grotesque comedy of manners "Carnage" at the press screening in Venice.
The screen adaptation of playwright Yasmina Reza’s acclaimed Broadway play "The God of Carnage," Polanski’s film tells the tale of two sets of parents who meet up to talk after their children get into a fight at school.
Electric comic timing and star performances from an A-list cast of Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christopher Waltz drive the film, shot in real time as the adults try settle the dispute with unpredictable twists.
Though "Carnage" is set in Brooklyn, it was shot in Paris as the French-Polish director is unable to travel freely around Europe because he is wanted in the United States following a conviction there for unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Fears of extradition from other European countries — notably Italy, which has a long history of cooperation with the United States — meant Polanski was not present on the red carpet Thursday evening.
Critics have inevitably drawn a comparison between Polanski’s status and the film’s claustrophobic atmosphere, with the use of close up shots, mirrored reflections and characters who pace back and forth in a tiny apartment.
Stars Winslet and Foster wowed paparazzi at the premiere, joining a host of other Hollywood greats who are arriving on the Venice Lido by water taxi, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Keira Knightley.