Francois Ozon’s Potiche

Starring the brilliant pairing of Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu, François Ozon’s 2010 film Potiche is an amusing and elegantly told story of a woman and her fight to shake off the role that society, and her own family, have imposed on her. Suzanne Pujol (Deneuve), a compliant and perfectly coiffured housewife living in the north of France in 1977, spends her life taking care of her children and her husband, Robert (Fabrice Luchini), a rich factory owner who manages both his employees and his family with a tyrannical grip. However, things change radically when the factory workers rise up against their director, locking him up so that he cannot react. Suzanne’s only option is to take control of the factory, and so is given a taste of power for the first time in her life. By the time that her husband recovers from his ordeal and is ready to return to work, his conservative attitude will come into direct conflict with her newfound sense of purpose.

Potiche was nominated for several prestigious awards, including the BAFTA for the Best Film Not in the English Language. Its light-hearted storyline, combined with its characteristically French style make it a good one to watch if you want to relax at the same time as improving your language skills!

  • In French, a potiche is a type of vase, but the word can also be translated as ‘a person with little importance’, a ‘figurehead’, or ‘window dressing’. Therefore, in English, the film is often entitled The Trophy Wife.

A trailer for the film can be found HERE.

Scene from Potiche

Discover more French films HERE.