Running Time: 130 mins.                       Rating: xx Stars/5 Stars

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: Delphine Gleize

Genre: Drama

Country: France                                   

 Language: French/Spanish/Italian/Polish

Distributor: Wellspring Media

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Angela Molina, Lio, Lucia Sanchez, Esther Gorintin

Some Loved This Picture, Some Hated It.  I Hated It.

CARNAGES is a bad film made by an untalented director. Still some people strongly liked this film. It was very controversial when shown in Cannes.

Viewers either loved it or hated it. I hated it.

CARNAGES begins with a toreador getting dressed (etc.). Instant Chekhov – if you show a toreador getting dressed then you will see him, sooner or later, getting gored and carried out of the arena feet first. This time it was very much sooner.

Different story – a schoolteacher in Lille is worried because one of her students, a 5-year-old girl, draws pictures in which the animals are bigger than the people. Teacher flies off to be with her parents in Spain. The little girl is subject to epileptic seizures and lives with a giant Great Dane. She is watching a bull fight on television when she sees the toreador being gored and carried out of the ring. The teacher arrives and is met at the airport by her mother who drives her home, partially following the truck bearing the bull’s carcass.

The bull is cut up with the eyes going to a hospital researcher in Brussels. He finds that the bull was blind in one eye and brings the eyes home with him. His wife is very pregnant.

An Italian actress who has been auditioning and working at small jobs in Lille attends sensitivity classes which take place in the nude in a municipal swimming pool featuring people you wouldn’t want to see naked except the actress, who is played by Chiaria Mastroianni, who, having been born really, really rich, doesn’t have to show her breasts in movies. She gets a job, in costume, at the local hypermarche selling meat from Spain. She sells a huge bone marked Romeo (the name of the recently deceased bull) to the family with the epileptic daughter and the Great Dane. While loading their car their shopping cart goes astray and hits the actress’s wreck of a car. This is witnessed by a suicidal ice skater/philosopher who waits until the actress comes out of the shop to tell her he saw who did it. He knows their name and address from a bottle of Valium left at the scene.

The actress and the ice skater confront the family just as they give the bone to the dog, which goes into immediate convulsions and dies. Meanwhile the researcher with the pregnant wife for some reason agrees to look after a neighbor’s bratty kid. Soon he is in the fridge playing with the bull’s eyes. The researcher catches him at it and retrieves one from under the sofa where it has rolled. There he finds his wife’s ultra sound which he discovers has five fetuses visible. (This is actually getting tiring just to recount.)

There is also a taxidermist (!) who lives close by with his retarded mother (!!) in a trailer. Really, they are even closer than the limited space of the trailer would normally allow. She gives him a pair of bull horns (Romeo again) for his birthday, which he loves. They go around selling his handiwork beside the road and at flea markets. A deaf mute man wants to buy the horns but he promised his mother that he wouldn’t sell them. Eventually, using information given him by his mother, he determines that the deaf mute must be his father. He goes to see the old man and accidentally gores himself while hugging his father. He returns home to find his mother dead and rabbits and white doves streaming out of the trailer.

Meanwhile the teacher has returned from Spain with her mother and they go out to a restaurant where the mother is served a dish made from the bull (Toro in red wine sauce) that should have gone to another patron. The other man comes over to the table and discovers that he once knew the mother but calls her by a different name. She tells him he is mistaken. The women leave the restaurant where she suddenly steps in front of a van and is struck and killed. She is taken to a hospital where her liver is donated to the dying matador. The father comes to the hospital and tells his daughter that her mother did go by another name but changed it after murdering her best friend/female lover. The researcher’s wife has to be carried out of their walk up apartment by pizza delivery guys and has five babies in the hospital. The actress and the ice skater attend nude sensitivity classes together and work up an ice skating act. The matador gets the liver and survives and his nurse has a baby in her womb, which already likes him. I forgot what happens next. If this is your idea of a movie then be my guest. Instead of mentioning how it was done, how it was played, how it was shot, I’ll just leave the plot lying around here because it expresses completely what’s wrong with this film. Some people might read this and think ‘that sounds interesting’ and go see the film. Go in good health I say. Mind you though, it’s quintuplets. Five. An overbearing retarded mother and a deaf mute father. A liver transplant and a murderous lesbian secret past. Fat naked people in a swimming pool doing sensitivity exercises while a snooty actress plays coy. A dead Great Dane. An epileptic five year old. And five babies. Some people loved it. It won awards.

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