DVD review: Potiche

Comedy starring French acting greats Deneuve and Depardieu

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Potiche (Cert: 15)

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3 stars

Set in 1977, this comedy stars Catherine Deneuve as Suzanne, the submissive wife of a tyrannical businessman who believes a woman’s place is in the home.

When the striking workforce of hubby’s umbrella factory take him hostage and he ends up rushed to hospital with heart trouble, Suzanne takes over as boss and creates a happier work environment, with a little help from local politician and former union firebrand Gerard Depardieu – who just happens to be a lover from her youth.

The period setting reflects a time of notorious industrial unrest in France (the play on which the film is based was first produced in 1980), but director Francois Ozon recalls the mild farce and mannered drawing-room comedy of an earlier era of French cinema.

Deneuve is a charming and assured comic presence, the factory neatly referencing her breakthrough role in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in 1964, although the broad and exaggerated performances suggest the story is still more suited to the stage.

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Formats: DVD and Blu-ray
Extras: 70-minute production documentary, plus ten minutes of interviews with Deneuve and Ozon