Review: ‘At Ellen’s Age’

A flighty flight attendant quits her job and somewhat recklessly goes in search of a new life.

A flighty flight attendant has a panic attack aboard a plane, quits on the spot and somewhat recklessly goes in search of a new life in “At Ellen’s Age.” Second feature of Johannesburg-born helmer Pia Marais again focuses on a German-speaking femme looking for meaning and stability in her life. As in “The Unpolished,” the helmer’s debut, “Ellen” features strong acting but suffers from an unfocused screenplay. However, the pic premiered at Locarno just a few days before a JetBlue employee unwittingly confirmed this story is indeed far from far-fetched, and further fest travel seems assured.

Jeanne Balibar (“Sagan”) gives a wonderfully controlled perf as Ellen, an airline worker whose life goes out of whack after her longtime b.f. (Georg Friedrich) announces he’s going to be a father — via another woman. Speaking in measured, precise German, the Gallic Balibar deftly underlines that the protag tries to impose order on her life as she falls in with a group of animal-rights activists. But it’s never clear whether Ellen finds what she wants or has merely swapped a corporate ideology for a green-ish hippie one. Grainy, 16mm lensing and blowup are impressive.

At Ellen's Age



A Real Fiction Filmverleih release of a Pandora Film Prod. production, in association with Westdeutscher Rundfunk, ARTE. (International sales: The Match Factory, Cologne.) Produced by Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel, Andrea Hanke, Georg Steinert. Directed by Pia Marais. Screenplay, Marais, Horst Markgraf.


Camera (color, 16mm-to-35mm), Helene Louvart; editor, Mona Braeuer; music, Markgraf, Yoyo Roehm; production designer, Petra Barchi; costume designer, Gabriella Ausonio. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 6, 2010. Running time: 101 MIN.


Jeanne Balibar, Stefan Stern, Georg Friedrich, Julia Hummer, Alexander Scheer, Eva Loebau, Clare Mortimer.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety