Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


POTICHE. The perfect treat for recuperating from an operation! I knew this would be ideal for sharing with visiting friends. Francois Ozon’s candy-coloured soufflĂ© is a delicious comedy set in provincial France in 1977 – the clothes, hairstyles, fabrics etc are all spot on. We begin with Suzanne Pujol (Catherine Deneuve) out jogging in her track suit, cooing to the wildlife and jotting down her poems. Her sexist pig of a husband treats her like a trophy wife and is having trouble at the umbrella factory began by Suzanne’s father. The workers are striking for better pay and conditions while the husband Frabrice Lucini does everything wrong and treats his mistress Nadege (Karin Viard) shabbily too. The upshot is the workers kidnap him and Suzanne takes his place at the factory when he is too ill to continue.

She of course soon sorts everything out with the workers, production is up but it is too good to last. The major Babin (Gerard Depardieu) has helped her and it turns out they have a history going back to when they were young. They become close again as they battle not only the scheming husband but also her daughter who plots against her over control of the factory. Suzanne turns out to be quite formidable as she then runs to become a MP – Deneuve is wonderful here as the woman who realises she has turned a blind eye to her husband’s infidelity and oafish treatment of her for too long.

It is all amusingly worked out, the disco scene is pure 1977 and a nice send-up of the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER era. Amusing too is the way the son Laurent (Jeremie Rennier) progressively gets gayer as he starts designing at the factory. Whatever one feels about Deneuve and Depardieu they are to all extent and purposes the faces of French Cinema now and they deliver a lot of fun here. Ozon scores a popular hit in his varied movie-making career (its as deliciously camp as 8 FEMMES) and it is good to see Deneuve – with all the associations of her past movies (there are fleeting moments here that suggest UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG and THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT) – enjoying a fun movie here. Extensive extras on the dvd include an extended making-of (it was a lot of fun on the set), wardrobe tests etc.

Coming soon: a veritable feast of Deneuve - reviews of Demy's PEAU D'ANE (DONKEY SKIN), INDOCHINE, 2 by Techine MY FAVOURITE SEASON and HOTEL AMERICA, A CHRISTMAS TALE, and maybe PLACE VENDOME and THIEVES!

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