(François Ozon, 2010, France)
I enjoyed François Ozon’s latest, Potiche, quite a lot. Even if it does have scarce appeal to the younger end of the cinematic demographic, the film is a glossy, lighthearted and frequently hilarious insight into sexual politics of the ’70s, complete with sumptuous sets and costumes and a handful of sterling performances. Catherine Deneuve, who begins the film as the typical embodiment of what is known as a potiche, a trophy wife continuously ignored by her slimy, philandering husband (Fabrice Lucini), is oustanding, accentuating her seemingly effortless transition from downtrodden middle class wife to go-getting woman standing up for what is right. It reminded me a lot of last years Made in Dagenham, another period piece depicting a group of unfulfilled women fighting for equal pay and sexual rights in a male dominated industry.
I’ve unfortunately not seen much of Ozon’s work, only a few of his short films, (Une robe d’été, for example) but he more than proves himself as a prolific filmmaker here, where his lightness of touch mixes perfectly with the astute observations of gender roles in a bygone era. Despite the fact that it doesn’t particularly amount to much in hindsight, Potiche is an enjoyably fluffy tale brought to life by extraordinary talent, both in front of and behind the camera.
- Made in Dagenham, 2010. [Film] Directed by Nigel Cole. UK: Audley Films.
- Potiche, 2010. [Film] Directed by François Ozon. France: Mandarin Films.
- Une robe d’été, 1996. [Film – Short] Directed by François Ozon. France: Fidélité Productions.