DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Zero Fucks Given (Rien à Foutre)

Director - Emmanuel Marre, Julie Lecoustre - 2021

"Filthy genius movie"
Air stewardess grapples with corporate greed and an empty partying lifestyle, in a profound and meaningful character study from France - live from the Tromsø International Film Festival

QUICK SNAP : LIVE FROM TROMSØ

Here’s a good idea for budding young filmmakers in search of a subject. Pick a familiar job that people are aware of and that don’t ever get treated in films and then make a film about it. That’s what writers and directors Emmanuel Marre and Julie Lecoustre have done in their new film Zero Fucks Given (2021), which we caught at Tromsø International Film Festival.

Adele Exarchopolous plays 26-year-old flight attendant, Cassandre. She’s the one that has to go up and down the aisle of the plane asking: “any drinks, any snacks?”, or tempting you with duty free perfumes and colognes, or worse still telling you that your back doesn’t fit and you’ll have to pay an extra charge. They are the front line troops of the budget airline industry. Paltry paid and badly treated, with a corporate culture of the ‘time to lean, time to clean’ variety. Cassandre spends her hours off partying and swiping her way through Tinder, getting wasted and waking up in strange hotels in hot countries.

But somehow managing to get herself fixed and ready to go, hair tied up, make up on, breath mint sucked and please return your seat to the upright position! It sounds like a great hedonistic lifestyle but there’s a desperation to the partying and the constant dislocation has a frenzied feel. Sure enough it turns out that a tragedy has sent Cassandre on her course, losing herself in the numbing routine and avoiding responsibilities. Despite having been with the company – a Ryanair lookalike called Wings – for several years, she insists on staying as a junior member of the cabin crew.

In fact, it is when she is forced up the career ladder that things begin to unravel. The irony is that it isn’t her partying that threatens to ground her career but rather her empathy for an elderly passenger which leads her to behave with a degree of humanity not sanctioned by the company. Temporarily sent home, she has to confront her family and come to terms with what she left behind.

No Fucks Given is a film that gives a fuck. The air steward is a perfect example of the modern alienation that is written into the DNA of the service industry. You aren’t simply paid to do a job, but also you have to have an attitude, an emotional state which belongs to the company. You must be cheerful in the face of insults, eager to please, as long as that doesn’t contravene the moneymaking, and you have to shove the sales up which is where the profit margin lies. A job interview has Cassandre having to implicitly give up the right to have a baby or be in a relationship, as well as reveal how she would evade sexual assault. There’s no talk of how she would be protected. The onus is entirely on her.

But at the heart of this character study is Adèle Exarchopoulos’ searing performance. As an actor she has proven herself time and again capable of depicting the raw emotional responses of her roles: see Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013). Here she is as convincing in the ordinary moments as she is in the depths of her despair. She is grief and pain that doesn’t want to reveal itself, even to herself. The most moving scene in the whole film is a phone call about changing a roaming tariff plan. This is the opposite of histrionics.

From a technical aspect, cinematographer Olivier Boonjing follows the main character’s lead in using a mix of camera phone type shakiness and the occasional glimpses of the sublime. The garish nightclubs offer a cheerful vision of hell and soulless news while home is as gray as drizzle. Editor Nicolas Rumpi constantly surprises with his abrupt cuts which emulate the characters own sense of dislocation. This is a fascinating and soulful look at a key figure of our time and, when you next fly, it will make you wonder at the human beings behind the uniforms and bland frozen smiles.

The 32nd Tromsø International Film Festival runs from January 17th to the 23rd. DMovies is reporting live all week!



"Filthy genius movie"

By John Bleasdale - 20-01-2022

By John Bleasdale - 20-01-2022

John Bleasdale is a film critic and writer based in Italy. He has published a novel entitled Blood is on the Grass and a book of short stories as well as a number of articles and features. His work ha...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

The Woodcutter Story

Mikko Myllylahti
2022

Redmond Bacon - 21-05-2022

This typically Finnish tale ticks all the boxes of the national spirit, but failed to lift mine — live from the Cannes Film Festival! [Read More...]

Resistances: Words and Art for Fighting Political Defamation

Cristina Juliana Abril.
2022

Liván García-Duquesne - 16-05-2022

Four Brazilian artists living in political exile aim to transform trauma into art and beauty, in this reflective piece of filmmaking - at the Rich Mix on Saturday, May 28th [Read More...]

The Drover’s Wife

Leah Purcelll
2022

John McDonald - 12-05-2022

Meandering western led by a stellar performance covers some important themes, but it struggles to grip hold of its audience - in cinemas on Friday, May 13th [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *