Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Transmission Films
Now Showing

In 1977, one hit wonder Charlene released her song, I've Never Been To Me, subsequently made famous by its use in the opening sequence of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994). Charlene's signature tune may not play on the soundtrack of Francois Ozon's Potiche, set in 1977, but it could very well be reverberating in the mind of Catherine Deneuve's Suzanne Pujol.

Suzanne is a pampered yet put upon housewife who, whilst seemingly having everything she could possibly want for doesn't really seem to get what she needs, starting with respect. Her husband (Fabrice Luchini), manager of the umbrella factory inherited by her, is having an affair with his secretary while her adult children still regard her as little more than a homemaker.

But then a union led strike at the factory sees Mr Pujol's health take a turn for the worse and Suzanne assuming the role of management, a transition which sees the bored housewife flourish; coming into the office sees Suzanne coming into her own. Rekindling a flirtation with former beau now pro-union politician, Mayor Babin (Gerard Depardieu) also puts a spring in Suzanne's step, and no doubt seeing these two icons of French cinema together again will put a smile on many a Francophile's face.

Ozon's film is a period comedy which is easily enjoyed as such and nothing more; the production design and costumes will no doubt prove a delight for osme on their own. Denueve, wonderful as the trophy wife-cum-self-determined woman, and Depardieu, following up his recent appearance in My Afternoons With Margueritte with another warm turn, provide some small time magic. Their night club dance scene may be superfluous but only the hardest of hearts could resist its charm.

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