Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Potiche (Trophy Wife), Francois Ozon, France 2010

François Ozon can always be relied on to deliver first-rate entertainment. This also applies to his new film, Potiche.

In Potiche, Catherine Deneuve plays Suzanne Pujol, the bored trophy wife to Fabrice Lucchini's Robert Pujol, a chauvinist, small-minded, factory manager. A heart attack forces Robert Pujol to temporarily retire, prompting his wife to take over. Lo and behold, at the factory things are suddenly going smoothly again as Suzanne breathes new life into the factory which was founded by her father in the first place. Perhaps, it is no accident that the factory produces umbrellas, a reminiscence I'd suggest, to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, one of Deneuve's greatest triumphs - a triumph, it should be added, she repeats in her role as Suzanne Pujol.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this sounds all like a grave - and dated? - lesson in feminism. But don't worry. François Ozon set his film in the 1970s with all the usual ingredients, including bell bottoms and some hefty disco beats by Baccara. Moreover, Potiche is above all a comedy - a hilarious one at times - although behind its comic façade there are nevertheless a lesson or two Ozon wants us to pick up on.

For how many women can you name that are running a factory, bearing in mind that this is 2011 and not 1978 ... ...?