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Review: Potiche

PUBLISHED: 16:30 01 July 2011

Potiche

Potiche

Archant

It is something many - or at least some - have always wanted to see but never knew - the spirit of Terry and June revived by the two ranking legends of French cinema Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu.

It’s not as much fun as that makes it sound, but there is something undeniably pleasing about it.

It’s 1977 with a vengeance.

Francois Ozon plasters on the period detail with Farrah Fawcett flicks, everybody smoking and décor that looks to have been ransacked from a warehouse of unclaimed Sale of the Century Prizes.

The title sequence is so retro it might have been taken for a Tarantino project while at one stage D&D get to strut their Saturday Night Fever stuff.

The plot is a mash up of Carry On At Your Convenience with any Carry On that has a battle of the sexes plotline featuring Barbara Windsor or Joan Sims yelling “Come girls, let’s get ’em”.

Deneuve is the trophy wife, content to potter around while her unfaithful, ruthless workaholic husband (Fabrice Luchini) runs the

umbrella factory left to her by her late father. His macho management style though antagonises the union and leads to a strike and her taking over the running of the factory after he is hospitalised.

Depardieu barrels up as the old flame that may be ready to reignite.

The film looks and feels like a farce but somehow a farce where no one has any energy to run around with their trousers round their ankles. It’s not particularly funny but it is fun.

You always suspect that some deeper purpose might be about to reveal itself but the film remains entirely lightweight throughout. It is more in praise of femininity than feminism.

Mostly it is an ode to the glory of Deneuve who glides through with the distant contented air of a slightly sozzled minor royal working a crowd: smile and wave, smile and wave. Even Depardieu is put firmly in the shade.

Potiche (15)

Dir: Francois Ozon

With: Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini, Sergi Lopez

Length: 103 minutes

***

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