Carnages review

Imagine Magnolia put through a European arthouse blender and you'll have some idea of this strange exploration of how a collection of characters are affected by the slaughter of a giant bull in Spain.

The beast's body parts are distributed around Europe, where one of its bones is bought for the Great Dane pet of an epileptic five-year-old girl (Raphaelle Molinier). The eyes are dispatched to a scientist (Jacques Gamblin) whose wife (Lio) is expecting quintuplets; while the horns end up with a taxidermist (Bernard Sens). Meanwhile, a Spanish woman (Angela Molina) eating a dish of beef in Rioja is herself destined to become an organ donor.

Writer/director Delphine Gleize's debut feature connects its intertwining stories with some striking images, her penchant for visual symbolism painting up the thematic associations. But the overextended result is more cerebral than emotional, and its procession of coincidences and epiphanies is not always persuasive.

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