Opening the New York Film Festival last night, Film Society programming chief Richard Peña praised Roman Polanski's Carnage on stage at Lincoln Center, calling it, “A film that, while brief, covers and extraordinary amount of ground.”

While Polanski was obviously not on hand to celebrate the film's North American debut, Peña was joined on stage by producer Saïd Ben Saïd, actors Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, and writer Yasmina Reza, who adapted her own play for the screen. “I'm very proud to be here,” Reza said, speaking for the group. “We are vey honored, on behalf of Roman Polanski that Carnage is the opening night presentation of the New York Film Festival.”

It was obvious from the uproarious laughter in the theaters that Carnage was a hit with the audiences and the perfect choice to open the festival. Meanwhile, despite some light rain, the red carpet along 65th Street was busy with light and life. But don't take our word for it, check out these photos from the evening:

Jodie and John
Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly on the red carpet. Photo by Anna Karadimas.

Stephanie Sigman
Stephanie Sigman, star of Miss Bala, gets interviewed on the red carpet. Photo by Anna Karadimas.

Hani Furstenberg
Hani Furstenberg, star of The Loneliest Planet, on the red carpet. Photo by Anna Karadimas.

Joe Shishido
Joe Shishido, star of several films in the series “Celebrating the Nikkatsu Centennial” including Gate of Flesh, for which he will be in person Sunday night! Photo by Anna Karadimas.

Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons at the Opening Night After Party at the Harvard Club. Photo by Ahmed Khawaja.

The excitement in the crowd outside Alice Tully Hall was palpable. We asked some of the people in line as well as onlookers what they were looking forward to seeing in the festival. Here are a few of their answers:

“I've attended the festival every year since 1984. I'll see, probably, three to four films tomorrow. I really want to see Melancholia.” —Cheryl

“I'm Mexican, my uncle is a filmmaker so I want to see Miss Bala.” —Guido

“I'm interested in these because of my work with adolescents: The Kid With A Bike and Footnote, also want to see You Are Not I.” —Estelle

“I want to see them all. I saw Carnage and Jodie Foster was great.” —George Whipple, NY1 Society Reporter