France, 2010, 103 Minute Running Time
Topics: Comedy, Gay/Lesbian
Program: Best of the Fest
Catherine Deneuve commands the screen with a regal wink as Suzanne Pujol, a trophy wife (“potiche”) whose mettle is tested when catastrophe strikes in her husband’s umbrella factory. Under the assured direction of prolific French filmmaker François Ozon, this stylish French farce is an irresistible romp through 1970s kitsch, politics and female emancipation. Like many wives of the 1970s, Suzanne’s realm is the home. Her smug, philandering husband Robert, who secured the factory through her dowry, is virtually oblivious to her needs--not that she expresses them. But when Robert is taken hostage by his employees, it is Suzanne who swiftly negotiates his release, with the help of Babin, the union leader (Gérard Depardieu) with whom she once had a brief fling many years prior.
Robert ends up in hospital, and having little choice, leaves Suzanne at the helm. Proving to have a natural flair for business, she quickly assesses the situation, enlists the help of her devoted son to create a new line and her daughter (daddy’s girl) and her husband’s secretary (and lover)--and the business positively booms! Babin, who has never quite gotten over their brief tryst, can neither repress his feelings, nor his admiration for her: she is a force to be reckoned with. If she can do this, what else could she take on? But her husband will soon be out of hospital and duty calls…Cleverly drawing parallels with present day issues in France, Ozon’s Potiche uses emotion and humor to explore themes that are as fresh today as they were four decades prior.
DIRECTOR: François Ozon
Producer: Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer
Editor: Laure Gardett
Screenwriter: François Ozon, based on the play by Pierre Barillet, Jean-Pierre Grédy
Cinematographer: Yorck Le Saux
Music: Philippe Rombi
Principal Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini, Karin Viard, Judith Godrèche, Jérémie Renier
Filmography: Angel (07), Ricky (09), La Refuge (09)
Print Source: Music Box Films - musicboxfilms.com
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