Halfway through Zero Fucks Given, the tale of a budget airline flight attendant and her colleagues, the team are taken out for a coaching day. Here, they run emergency and first aid drills over and over, breaking down saving lives to clockwork. The other all-important side of flight attending is customer service. One by one, they deliver their welcome to a camera, holding their smile for what seems like an eternity after their welcome. As their faces break, they are judged by an offscreen voice and always found lacking.

Directors Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre created their own airline, Wings, and their specificity and authenticity of design make the company look as much a staple of the skies as Ryanair. Filming took place in the air and on the ground, giving extras free flights to Barcelona in pursuit of verisimilitude. This endeavour is impressive, and largely effective. The callousness that Cassandra (Adèle Exarchopoulos) shows a Wings customer who brings a too-large carry-on is momentarily shocking, before it becomes apparent that the callousness the airline industry turns against Cassandra is equally brutal. Personhood is a detriment: “I can be blonder if it’s better for the guests,” Cassandra tells a prospective manager on a video call, without batting an eye. 

Narratively, Zero Fucks Given flounders. Cassandra’s aimlessness is a symptom of the ruthless efficiency expected, and dramatic turning points are aggressively understated. 110 minutes is lengthy for a film comprised of phone calls and routine interactions; its insistence on minutiae is both exhausting and admirable. 

Zero Fucks Given unfolds jaggedly and unhurriedly, giving the impression of an unfiltered slice of life aided by a largely-amateur cast (though as the directors state, there is no such thing). Exarchopoulos’ central turn is a mesmerising cipher, blending and animating this world of monotony and absurdism. 



CAST: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alexandre Perrier, Mara Taquin, Arthur Egloff

DIRECTORS: Julie Lecoustre, Emmanuel Marre

WRITERS: Julie Lecoustre, Emmanuel Marre

SYNOPSIS: A flight attendant on a budget airline lives a happily unmoored life until a sudden change reveals the precarity of her existence.