Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Potiche (2010, Francois Ozon)

Was beginning to worry that Ozon might not have another romp like 8 Women in him, but his reunion with Catherine Deneuve has pulled him out of his rut of self-seriousness. Deneuve, partly due to her status as an icon of France (not just French cinema either), is eternally underappreciated as a film actor, but she makes it look so damn easy that Ozon can go wild with the kitsch and seventies-throwback style without spinning the film off into the stratosphere. He also surrounds her with a fine supporting cast- Karin Viard is clearly the MVP, practically thrumming with personal energy as the devoted secretary and mistress of Deneuve’s husband who flowers under Deneuve’s guidance, but Gerard Depardieu also has a lot of fun as the local politico who carries a torch for Deneuve after all these years, and I’ve become highly impressed at Jeremie Renier’s ability to switch gears from the hardscrabble of world of the Dardennes to the sort of boyish charmer he plays here. Potiche is light as a feather and largely lacking in the rich subtext that shot through 8 Women if one bothered to look, although allegedly the film’s final reel, in which Deneuve runs for political office, was inspired by the 2007 presidential race. But even for those with little knowledge of French politics (including yours truly), Potiche is a more than worthy film, and one that left me with a goofy grin on my face from beginning to end.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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