A bullfight leaves the matador badly injured and the bull dead. As the bull's remains are transported across Europe, dispirate groups of people find their lives affected, directly or indirectly, by the accident.
Beginning with a bullfight which leaves the matador badly injured and the bull dead, Carnages moves outwards to look at the lives of people, both in Southern Spain and Northern France, who are either immediately or eventually affected by the incident.
With six or seven different sets of characters and plotlines, simply staying abreast of the action proves initially demanding for the viewer. However, as the film goes on, the way in which debutante feature director Delphine Gleize brings the different strands together is rewarding and often quite magical.
Gleize focuses on the inner lives of her characters with a novelist's fascination, yet nevertheless carefully repeats visual motifs across strands, usually with pleasing subtlety. She does well in establishing a cinematic perspective on life that, while echoing Pedro Almodovar and Claude Miller, is determinedly her own.
The criss-crossing stories may seem daunting, but it's well worth sticking with this multi-layered story.