Cinema of the real – at high altitude – on the low levels of injustice, superficiality and hypocrisy reached by contemporary society. A first feature that is intense, heartfelt, interesting and without ideologisms on the little-known and little-seen world – at least in the cinema – of the exploitation of hostesses by low cost airlines.
With Adèle Exarchopoulos extraordinary in the impeccable uniform of Cassandre, a flight attendant, perpetually busy at work. Or to destroy yourself in high alcoholic parties to not think. Almost never sleeping …
Low Cost Generationwhich premiered last year at Cannes’ Semaine de la Critique, is the film to see in cinemas this weekend.
What a story the Low Cost Generation tells
Cassandre (Adèle Exarchopoulos) has been working as a hostess for the low-cost airline Wing for nearly three years.
Fly every day in the skies of Europe. Her “base” she is based in Lanzarote, where she shares a small apartment with some colleagues. She has no romantic ties, only casual relationships via Tinder. She is rather introverted and kind, she always gives very high marks (in staff evaluations) to her colleagues and is attentive to passengers, despite the “superficiality” of her tasks: smiling and selling. “Your job is to sell as much as possible!” (perfumes and drinks with the trolley up and down the corridor) is the mantra of the garments …
The girl’s only ambition is to spend a day on a private jet company in the UAE.
At night, Cassandre does not sleep and gets stunned at parties. During the day, she points out the fire exits and offers paid drinks to passengers. The smile always “in operation”. Behind the mask: the pain of “not living” really and a private tragedy …
Why is Generazione Low Cost by Lecoustre and Marre the film to see at the weekend?
Because it focuses on the sad reality of contemporary labor exploitation. It is the first work of the directors Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre, yet it shows a surprising maturity of gaze and staging (especially in the sequences “on board”). Perhaps the first work has the excessive length and discontinuity between the first part “at work” – or without sleep in improvised parties with colleagues – and the second part of the “homecoming”.
Between neon and artificial lights of “non-places”, Lecoustre and Marre frame with extreme visual and perceptive power (the work on sound and musical choices is also remarkable) the life of Cassandre, who sees the sky (more than the world) from a porthole.
Without easy sociologisms, without the bonds of ideology. Perhaps one of the best Franco-Belgian films on the absurd, false and stressed contemporaneity in which we live. A reality – not just work – in which we have to practice smiling to sell something, or to “sell” our image in a selfie for Instagram or a chat for meetings …
The magnificent Adèle Exarchopoulos
Adèle Exarchopoulos is magnificent, she speaks with her eyes. She manages to be in a “smiling pose” and a sad face at the same time. The best performance of her after Adele ‘s life (Palme d’Or at Cannes 2013) e Mandibules – Two men and a fly (2020) of Quentin Dupieux.
The film’s ending remains open. On the notes of Faded from Alan Walker at full volume.
Among airplanes, airports, discos and malls, we see Cassandra and her pain hidden by the “stage costume” (the uniform and makeup of a flight attendant).
Timing the smile
The idea for the film came to the directors flying on a low cost airline. They watched a stewardess just before landing, her eyes haunted, weary and weary. Upon landing she smiled at everyone, wishing “good day!”, As in a play. The authors then worked, imagining the life of that hostess.
Among the most powerful sequences, the one in which Cassandre has to practice keeping a smile for at least 30 seconds without betraying other emotions. “There is no past, there is no future, it’s just you right now as a flight attendant … Nobody gives a damn about your personal life or your problems …”.
The thought of the authors
Co-director Emmanuel Marre remarked effectively: “Basically, we were afraid of being ‘moralists’. There is a noble way to bring morality to the screen (like the cinema of John Ford or gods Dardenne brothers), but treating the story in that way didn’t really seem justified… Cassandre is a character who got lost and we follow this character in his loss… ».
The directors mentioned by Marre, although to distance themselves from them, actually seem to echo, at least in part, in the film.
Of the Dardenne there is certainly the gaze on the truth and of Ford the pity of Cassandre, who fails to consider the passengers as mere “customers”.
Low Cost Generation or “the life of Cassandre” is in the room. The crudest and most antiphrastic original title reads Rien à foutreor “give a damn”.
In reality, Cassandre has escaped from her own mournful reality, but it is not at all true that she “cares” about it. It is the people who command – or think they command – her life and her rhythms that don’t give a damn. Even if they say, “You obviously don’t have to …” to do this or that.
Don’t miss it!
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