Francois Ozon is back with another frothy, primary color-imbued comedy in the vein of “8 Women.”
“Potiche,” led by French cinema heavyweights Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu, is set in the ’70s and tells the story of a trophy wife of an umbrella company magnate who shakes off the shackles of her cloistered well-to-do existence and takes the reigns of the family business when her husband suffers a heart attack. Soon, she’s negotiating with unions and mingling with political players, a far cry from her usual duties at home. As the trailer makes perfectly clear, this is a big, broad — and very French — comedy, and either you’ll go with it or you won’t. This writer saw the film in the fall and thought it was somewhat charming but found its style and relentless tone a bit wearying after a while. But as light diversion, you could certainly do a lot worse.
The film opens on March 25th in limited release. Synopsis and trailer below (or in HD at Apple).
Set in 1977 in a provincial French town, POTICHE is a free adaptation of the 1970s eponymous hit comic play. Catherine Deneuve is Suzanne Pujol, a submissive, housebound ‘trophy housewife’ (or “potiche,”) who steps in to manage her wealthy and tyrannical husband (Fabrice Lucchini)’s umbrella factory after the workers go on strike and take him hostage. To everyone’s surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action. But when her husband returns from a restful cruise in top form, things get complicated. Gerard Depardieu plays a former union leader and Suzanne’s ex-beau who still holds a flame for her. Acclaimed writer-director Francois Ozon (“Swimming Pool,” “Under the Sand,” “Time to Leave,”) who had previously directed Ms. Deneuve in “8 Women,” twists the original play on its head to create his own satirical and hilarious take on the war between the sexes and classes.