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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Potiche (2010)

Set in the spring of 1977, a bourgeois housewife (Catherine Deneuve) suddenly and unwillingly finds herself thrust into the position of taking over her husband's factory and negotiating with its workers to prevent a strike after her husband (Fabrice Luchini) is hospitalized. Based on a play by Pierre Barillet and Jean Pierre Gredy and directed by Francois Ozon, this is a rather charming comedy reminiscent of Preston Sturges' social comedies of the 1940s. Ozon has the look and feel of the 70s down pat (even the music is accurate) that if someone told you the film was made in 1977, you'd believe it. Ozon's look at the emergence of a trophy wife (which is what the title POTICHE means) budding into a feminist avoids the preachiness of so many actual 1970s films on the subject and uses a droll comedic approach instead. Gerard Depardieu. as the communist mediator between the factory and the union, seems to have gained so much weight that he looks like a grizzly bear. There were gasps in the audience at his first appearance. With the delightful Karin Viard as Luchini's secretary mistress (who almost steals the movie), Jeremie Renier and Judith Godreche. Quite a delight!

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