DIRECTED BY FRANÇOIS OZON
FRANCE, 2010, 103 MIN
IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Potiche: A large porcelain vase, or person, that serves a more “decorative” purpose than functional.
French master François Ozon’s (8 Women, Swimming Pool) latest film, POTICHE, is set in a small town in 1977 and depicts a typical French bourgeois family. Husband Robert Pujol (Fabrice Luchini) runs an umbrella factory, while his wife Suzanne (the luminous Catherine Deneuve) stays at home, as “respectable” wives do. Tyrannical and extremely conservative, Robert is held prisoner by his employees who have gone on strike to protest their working conditions. No surprise here—this happens all the time in France. He is saved by none other than his archenemy, the communist mayor (a wonderfully endearing Gérard Depardieu) of the village. Their hatred for each other is not only linked to politics… After her husband suffers a heart attack, Suzanne, the “potiche” wife, must take over the factory while he recovers. The roles are reversed as she transforms into an extraordinary leader, and this delightful comedy is a nice feminist wink, hilarious and smart throughout.