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At Ellen's Age

At Ellen's Age

Im Alter von Ellen

Pia Marais

  • Country: Germany
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: German
  • Producer: Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel
  • Screenplay: Horst Markgraf, Pia Marais
  • Runtime: 95
  • Programmes:

A German flight attendant falls into increasingly bizarre adventures when she leaves her husband, quits her job and joins a radical group of animal activists.

screening times

official description

It’s not exactly clear how old Ellen is, but the world would tell her she’s old enough to know better. The pleasure of watching At Ellen’s Age comes precisely from observing a grown woman take a knowing journey from conformity to radical actions. Ellen is full of surprises, but perhaps never to herself.

Ellen Kolmar (Jeanne Balibar) has a steady, if irregular, life as a Lufthansa flight attendant. But after her husband confesses that he is in the midst of an affair, she suffers a panic attack on the job and is promptly fired. With her entire life turned on its head, Ellen searches for solace in sex and alcohol. But she never could have predicted the incidental fluke that links her with a group of animal activists and sets her on a journey of personal discovery.

Director Pia Marais proved her exceptional skill at character study in her award-winning, debut feature The Unpolished. At Ellen’s Age continues in the same vein; Marais creates psychological complexity with fluidity and ease. As a result, Ellen emerges as a fully-drawn and idiosyncratic character, both recognizable and completely unique.

It comes as no surprise that Marais studied sculpture before filmmaking; her film is shaped by its muscular images, from the metal shells of airplanes to the sinewy bodies of the animals Ellen comes to know on her visits to Africa. In one striking scene, Ellen’s animal liberation friends stage an action by stripping naked and arranging their bodies in giant Styrofoam platters, like meat at the supermarket.

At Ellen’s Age seasons the commonplace with a pinch of the surreal. It’s just enough to make each new turn of the plot offer up a sensation of wonder. And as Marais reveals more and more of Ellen, we come to know her as a woman who deliberately destroys the foundations of her life and opens her arms to whatever comes next. It’s a thrill to watch.

Cameron Bailey

director bio

Pia Marais was born in Johannesburg . After studying art in London , Amsterdam and Dusseldorf , she graduated from the German Academy of Film & Televison in Berlin . Her short films include Loop (96), Deranged (98), Tricky People (99) and 17 (03). Her first feature, The Unpolished (07), screened at several international film festivals and won various prizes, including the Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. At Ellen’s Age (10) is her second feature.

full credits

Principal Cast: Jeanne Balibar, Stefan Stern, Georg Friedrich, Julia Hummer, Alexander Scheer
Claudia Steffen, Christoph Friedel
Hélène Louvart
Mona Bräuer
Andreas Hildebrandt
Horst Markgraf, Yoyo Röhm
Production Designer:
Petra Barchi
International Sales Agent:
 The Match Factory
Production Company:
Pandora Film Produktion
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