Potiche is a 2010 French-Belgian comedy film directed by François Ozon, based on the play of the same name by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy. It stars Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini, Karin Viard, Judith Godrèche and Jérémie Renier. Set in 1977, the film tells the story of a submissive wife who gets to run her husband's umbrella factory, after the employees rebel against their tyrannical manager.[2] In French, a potiche [pɔ.tiʃ] is a decorative vase, but by extension means "window dressing" or, roughly, "trophy wife".[3] The film competed at the 67th Venice International Film Festival and received two Magritte Award nominations, winning Best Supporting Actor for Jérémie Renier.[4]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrançois Ozon
Produced byÉric Altmayer
Nicolas Altmayer
Screenplay byFrançois Ozon
Based onPierre Barillet (play)
Jean-Pierre Grédy (play)
StarringCatherine Deneuve
Gérard Depardieu
Fabrice Luchini
Karin Viard
Judith Godrèche
Jérémie Renier
Music byPhilippe Rombi
CinematographyYorick Le Saux
Edited byLaure Gardette
Mandarin Cinéma
Production Services Belgium
Distributed byMars Distribution
Release date
Running time
99 minutes
Budget$13.2 million
Box office$28.8 million[1]



François Ozon saw the play Potiche by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy about ten years before he made the film. According to Ozon, the genesis of the film version was, partly, that he had been approached by the producers Éric and Nicolas Altmayer and asked to make a biographical film about Nicolas Sarkozy, and, partly, his experiences from the 2007 presidential campaign, where he followed the Socialist Party's candidate Ségolène Royal. While writing the screenplay, Ozon regularly met with Barillet, who gladly approved the tweaks made in order to enhance the story's relevance for contemporary society. The 1970s setting was, however, retained; this was both because the distance allowed the director to make a more humorous film, and because France was more politically divided in the 1970s, which made the class relations more remarkable.[3] The political career of Suzanne was entirely Ozon's own addition to the story, which in its original incarnation ended when Robert returns to the factory.[5]

The project was led by Mandarin Cinéma, with co-production support from Production Services Belgium. Principal photography took place in Belgium from 26 October 2009 and lasted eight weeks.[6] The film was deliberately given a theatrical look in order to create distance and give the audience a constant awareness of watching a work of fiction. An important influence for the visual style was the cinema of Jacques Demy.[5] The soundtrack includes Michèle Torr with "Emmène-moi danser ce soir", "Il était une fois", "Viens faire un tour sous la pluie" and Jean Ferrat's "C'est beau la vie".[3]


The film premiered on 4 September 2010 in competition at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.[7] It was released in France and Belgium on 10 November.[2] Launched in 440 prints through Mars Distribution, Potiche had 875,000 admissions during its first week in French theatres.[8] At its peak the film was playing in 542 venues. When the theatrical run ended, the total number of tickets sold in France had reached 2,318,221.[9] As of 28 June 2011, Box Office Mojo reported that the worldwide theatrical revenues of the film corresponded to 23,157,170 US dollars.[10]


A subtitled version in English was released on DVD in October 2011. Clips from the film were used in "trailers" subtitled by Orange, with all the dialogue reworded to be about mobile phones, in order to illustrate how phones can ruin a film.


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82%, based on 114 reviews, and an average rating of 6.7/10.[11] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12]


  1. ^ http://www.jpbox-office.com/fichfilm.php?id=11624
  2. ^ a b "Film profile: Potiche". Cineuropa. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Potiche press kit" (PDF). Wild Bunch. Retrieved 19 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Bouli Lanners et " Tête de boeuf ", les Magritte du cinéma belge". Le Soir (in French). 4 February 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b Vern, Romain Le (10 November 2010). "Potiche : interview François Ozon". Excessif.com (in French). TF1. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  6. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (27 October 2009). "Deneuve and Depardieu star in Ozon's Potiche". Cineuropa. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Venezia 67: Potiche - François Ozon". labiennale.org. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  8. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (18 November 2010). "Little White Lies, Potiche perform well in theatres". Cineuropa. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Potiche (2010)". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Potiche". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Potiche (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Potiche Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 14 May 2018.

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