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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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Alphonsus Rodriguez: Tragedy and challenge beset today’s saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer. 
<p>Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business and, with his young son, moved into his sisters’ home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation. </p><p>Years later, at the death of his son, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits’ college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations. </p><p>His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including St. Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus’s life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems. </p><p>Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.</p> American Catholic Blog People mess up, and it’s especially hard to watch as our children and other young people go down paths we know are likely to lead to heartbreak. Providing gentle guidance when it’s needed, and love even when that guidance isn’t followed, helps them to start fresh.

 
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