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65 customer reviews

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Product Description

Set in 1977 in a provincial town, Potiche is a witty and charming comedy starring Catherine Deneuve as Suzanne Pujol, a housebound 'trophy wife' (or potiche) who steps in to manage an umbrella factory run by her tyranical husband after the workers go on strike. To everyone's surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action. Gerard Depardieu plays a union leader and Suzanne's ex-beau who still holds a flame for her. With Potiche acclaimed writer-director Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, 8 Woman) has created a satrical and hilarious take on the war between the sexes and classes.


"A Masterful Central Performance by Grande Dame Catherine Deneuve" --Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

"Sophisticated and Quick Witted" --Rodrick Conway Morris, New York Times

"A Love Poem to Catherine Deneuve. It's Made to Please, and Succeeds". --Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Geard Depardieu
  • Directors: Francois Ozon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,011 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By AK on June 11, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Potiche pretends to be silly and lighthearted while being rife with undercurrents that threaten to provide deeper meaning to the story. This is colorful and goofy with acting that approaches broad, then withdraws at the verge as if to regard whether the audience is paying attention. At the lead is Catherine Deneuve (Suzanne), who skillfully plays a smart character that has become accustomed to playing dumb all her life. `Potiche' refers to the trophy wife that she has become, married to a ignorant and arrogant man (Robert) who rules an umbrella factory as his own private fiefdom. The factory was built and run for years by Suzanne's father, but he seems to think it was his creation all along. The workers at the umbrella factory strike, Robert storms the protest to give them a good verbal lashing - and is taken hostage. Suzanne is left to negotiate as the head of the factory in his absence with the help of Maurice (Gerard Depardieu), the socialist mayor. While styled as a quick-witted farce, Potiche is filled with conflicting passions. The socialists and capitalists are at each others' throats, men and women battle for financial supremacy (always thinly veiled sexual warfare), and numerous themes regarding globalization, sexual liberation, and gender roles play a supporting part. First and foremost, it is a comedy, and it is a sharp one at that.

Suzanne is the very picture of still waters, though she is none too deep throughout Potiche. She writes simple and silly poems, jogs, and ignores her husband's clumsy infidelities. She is not stupid, however, just bored. Her husband does not have her fooled, for example, since she just prefers to let other women service the idiot with whom she shares the house.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen C. Bird on July 26, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am already a fan of Francois Ozon, so I expected I would like this film, and indeed I did. Ozon has a very light touch, and although he also makes serious films, I see him as a master of comedy. Throughout his works I can see the influence, visually and in terms of humour, of Pedro Almodovar and the later-phase John Waters. Like Almodovar, Ozon's sets are always impeccably and artistically done, with a fantastic sense of color and good taste. The actors are well-cast and well-utilized in their roles; I especially enjoyed Deneuve, whose portrayal makes use of that light touch that she and Ozon seem to have in common. The look of the "Potiche" is often similar to that of Ozon's comedy "8 Women" that also features fabulously extravagant interiors.

Besides Deneuve--Gerard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini, Karen Viard, Judith Godreche, and Jeremie Renier are standouts as well. The excellent score is done in a style reminiscent of 1970's sitcoms, although not specifically in the American sense. As Madame Pujol's son Laurent, Jeremie Renier is a strangely effeminate supposedly straight guy; it's as if Ozon had him portray the role in this way to play up yet another campy aspect of the film. I found end of the picture to be quite moving, as Madame Pujol finally achieves her ultimate liberation and expresses her love and support for the community she has always been a part of. The final scene features Madame Pujol singing, 'C'est Beau La Vie"; at this point, she seems to be Catherine Deneuve as much as she is her character; but it doesn't matter, and the entire effect brought tears to my eyes. Ozon has a way of making comedies that initially seems superficial and silly, but by the end of the film one becomes aware of a sub-textual rigour as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 25, 2011
Format: DVD
This has been compared to `Made in Dagenham', but I think this is actually much better and whilst they both deal with female empowerment, this one just oozes style. It stars Catherine Deneuve as Suzanne Pujol, who is the trophy wife of Robert. He married her and got her fathers umbrella factory as a dowry, employing three hundred workers. He then became a misogynistic stereo type of the bullying kind that epitomised the early seventies.

His negative attitude spills over to industrial relations and sets him on a collision course with the unions at his factory. They do a wild cat strike, he intervenes and after much wrangling he is released. This is done with the aid of the Communist Mayor, one Maurice Babin (Gerard Depardieu). All of the attention, and it must be said womanising finally catches up with Robert and he has a collapse. In the power vacuum that ensues, Suzanne steps in and takes over.

Set in 1977, there are some great period details, despite IMDB claiming a couple of gaffs like using a song from Bacarra that was not out until 1978, not really a deal breaker. It is beautifully filmed and directed by François Ozon (`Swimming Pool' and `8 women'). We soon discover that Suzanne is a `woman with a past' which makes up for her dumb blond performance at the beginning. This `past' includes the Mayor Maurice. I must say that there is genuine on screen chemistry between Deneuve and Depardieu, but he always seems to be able to pull it off (no pun intended).

There are also sub plots involving the children, a sideways dive into politics and some good comic asides. This though is not a full on comedy, it is a warm gentle film, with a feel good factor that sweeps you along. All of the performances are top notch especially from Fabrice Luchini who plays Robert.
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