Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu star in <em>Potiche</em>.

Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu star in Potiche.


Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, and Fabrice Luchini star in a film written by Pierre Barillet, Jean-Pierre Grédy, and François Ozon and directed by Ozon.

It’s easy to admire François Ozon’s loose-limbed approach to filmmaking. He’s never been afraid to court the edges of camp or to lose himself in a grab bag of ideas. In 8 Women, he made one of the most artificial films of all time: a musical murder mystery set in a wintry country estate with a camera employed to keep reminding us it was all a set. In Potiche, Ozon seems to be using the actors themselves as constructions in his story of a manufacturing family running into the changing social structure of 1977. It stars Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu in bodies that have clearly exceeded their earlier elegances. In them we see both past and present. When they disco dance, and then later smooch in front of a neon sign for the Badaboum Club, the results are equally touching and ridiculous. The film itself alludes to pictures as diverse as 9 to 5 and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, though the point of the whole gaudy cinematic gesture seems to be to wallow in political nostalgia disguised as a family melodrama, sunk in a sitcom.

But it’s mostly deadly sedation time. Deneuve will always dazzle, though here she’s simple content to prance her stuff around — she doesn’t seem sure for once whether to be cute or poignant, so she comes off a little stiff. And though the family story has twists and turns, the too-loose Ozon makes it all seem stylish and, ultimately, inconsequential.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Goleta Target Store Confirmed

Set to open at Kmart location in 2019.

County Fire Chief Calls for More Fuel Breaks

Peterson wants to create a continuous front-country line from Montecito to Goleta.

Crime Rates Down, Youth Arrests Up in Santa Barbara County

A 'high percentage' of misdemeanor citations happen on school campuses.

Will Hollister Ranch Access Deal Hold Up Under Public Scrutiny?

State commissioners are taking a closer look at settlement over beach access to Santa Barbara County gated ...

Faced with a Gun, Sheriff’s Sergeant Holds His Fire

Sgt. Freddy Padilla reflects on potentially life-saving decisions during welfare call.