Though Broken Bells featured two of the bigger names in indie and alternative music – the Shins' singer/guitarist James Mercer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse – the duo managed to keep their project secret for a relatively long time. The pair were inspired to collaborate when they met at 2004's Roskilde music festival in Denmark, where they discovered they were fans of each other's work. However, they didn't start writing and recording together as a band until March 2008, when Mercer holed up in Burton's home studio in Los Angeles. The duo took a different approach to their work together than they had with their other projects: Burton avoided the sample-heavy style he used on The Grey Album and Beck's Modern Guilt, and played only live instruments, while Mercer broadened his vocal style to include falsettos and deeper registers.
Father O'Malley, the unconventional priest from 'Going My Way', continues his work for the Catholic Church. This time he is sent to St. Mary's, a run-down parochial school on the verge of condemnation. He and Sister Benedict work together in an attempt to save the school, though their differing methods often lead to good-natured disagreements.
Based on a theatrical text by Romanian writer Ion Luca Caragiale (1852-1912), who was a bitter and funny witness of the turn-of-the-20th-century Romanian bourgeois mores, Carnival Scenes manages to preserve and further enhance the slightly hysteric atmosphere of his plays. Pintilie creates a strange combination of carnival scenes which is brought to the screen as a burlesque, fast-paced, screwball comedy with a meditative undertone. This film was banned in Romania for a decade until the death of Ceausescu in 1989 and was only released after the 1989 revolution.