Potiche Francois Ozon

Potiche Francois Ozon
Jumping through genres and time periods, stamping his trademark subversion of mimicry and subtle variation on each piece, Francois Ozon is an expert at coyly satirizing the rules and ideologies of a given niche. With Potiche, he sets his sights on the hippie-dippy '70s, playfully mirroring the split-screen, soft focus aesthetic while making light of the backwards gender standards and political idealism of the time, crafting a smart adult comedy for those in the know. It opens with titular trophy wife Suzanne Pujol (Catherine Deneuve) jogging through the woods in a red tracksuit, wearing full make-up without a single bead of sweat. She marvels at the deer and squirrels in the woods, giving pause when she stumbles upon two rabbits vigorously copulating. It's a formula that's repeated throughout the entire film – which pivots upon political change in the family umbrella factory when capitalist patriarch Robert (Fabrice Luchini) has a heart attack, leaving his more communist, earth-mother wife in charge – wherein a straightforward mimicking and mockery of the '70s melodrama plays out only to have something unexpected, and often crass, happen. There's also a continuous thematic gag about the rising number of women in the workforce, shown in the film as changing the corporate and political landscape to a feminine, collaborative environment, rather than what happened in reality, where they were merely assimilated into the male status quo. Similarly, the children of Robert and Suzanne – Laurent (Jeremie Renier) and Joelle (Judith Godréche) – exhibit inverted gender characteristics, with Laurent taking the passive, artistic approach to Joelle's conservative aggression. It's all clever and fun, soaped up by the occasional subplot of illegitimate children and past sexual proclivities, making for a highly entertaining camp viewing experience. Of course, anyone trying to take the film literally, even after watching Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu do a choreographed dance to French disco, will likely just be confused and frustrated. No supplements are included with the DVD. (eOne)