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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Carnage

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

Picture yourself in a small apartment in Brooklyn, one where you could look out the window and see Manhattan. Then picture yourself watching the action in the tiny apartment unfold on stage.
 
Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christof Waltz) Cowan are visiting Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Rielly) Longstreet in that small apartment. The sons of these two sets of parents have had a fight.  The parents are agreeing that the Cowen boy was the aggressor who hit the other boy and knocked out two teeth.
 
The middle class Longstreets are trying to be very civil and polite. Penelope is the moral voice of the film that continually struggles for higher ground; she is writing a book about Dafur because she cares so much. The upper crust Cowans, especially Alan, continually takes calls on his mobile phone during the conversation, irritating everyone. The Cowans try to leave two or three times but end up being drawn back into the spider’s web when they couples disagree about right and wrong between their children, Alan’s unethical tactics as a pharmaceutical executive, and Michael getting rid of bothersome a pet by letting it go on the street where it could be killed.
 
I suppose a case could be made for humor at some level for the carnage left after these grown-ups duke it out with words, and the existential carnage they spew on the universe by their conflicting worldviews. But a better case might be made for the influence of Jean-Paul Sarte’s  existential tome “Nausea” on the French writer Yasmina Reza who wrote the original play “The Gods of Carnage” and co-wrote the screenplay. Indeed, when Nancy throws up all over Penelope’s fine coffee table books about art, their battlefield over meaning is completely leveled by covering beauty with vomit.
 
This is a dark comedy set in a stuffy hell created by these parents who don’t really know who they are.
 
The film had to be made in Paris because of director Roman Polanski’s ongoing trouble with the law in the United States. The acting is taut and fine by all the actors but some plays are better left to the theater. 


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Ansgar: The “apostle of the north” (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a saint—and he did. He became a Benedictine at Corbie, France, where he had been educated. Three years later, when the king of Denmark became a convert, Ansgar went to that country for three years of missionary work, without noticeable success. Sweden asked for Christian missionaries, and he went there, suffering capture by pirates and other hardships on the way. Fewer than two years later, he was recalled, to become abbot of New Corbie (Corvey) and bishop of Hamburg. The pope made him legate for the Scandinavian missions. Funds for the northern apostolate stopped with Emperor Louis’s death. After 13 years’ work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen; Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism. 
<p>He directed new apostolic activities in the North, traveling to Denmark and being instrumental in the conversion of another king. By the strange device of casting lots, the king of Sweden allowed the Christian missionaries to return. </p><p>Ansgar’s biographers remark that he was an extraordinary preacher, a humble and ascetical priest. He was devoted to the poor and the sick, imitating the Lord in washing their feet and waiting on them at table. He died peacefully at Bremen, Germany, without achieving his wish to be a martyr. </p><p>Sweden became pagan again after his death, and remained so until the coming of missionaries two centuries later.</p> American Catholic Blog Every vocation is a vocation to sacrifice and to joy. It is a call to the knowledge of God, to the recognition of God as our Father, to joy in the understanding of His mercy.

 
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