At Ellen's Age (Im Alter Von Ellen), concerning a flight attendant who freaks out and quits as the plane prepares for takeoff, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival days before JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater famously told off a rude passenger, opened the emergency landing door, and slid away from his job. Slater now lives as a low-tier quasi-reality star, making minor celebrity appearances and milking TMZ coverage while working on a book. (He shares an agent with Barry Manilow.) Flight attendant Ellen's (Jeanne Balibar) dramatic exit here takes her in a more meaningful direction, from neurotic, directionless woman to committed animal rights activist.
Like its protagonist, German filmmaker Pia Marais' comedy morphs twice. At first, it's a jittery portrait of rigorously put-together Ellen. Post-Dardennes tics of European filmmaking persist: the aggressive handheld camera prowling behind Ellen's head as she strides through anonymous airports is familiar,