“Potiche,” Reviewed

“Potiche,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Deneuve runs! France’s most immaculate actress kicks off “Potiche” in a tracksuit, jogging through the woods, controlling her breathing and taking in the birds, deer and mating rabbits along the path. She plays Suzanne Pujol, an impossibly glamorous neglected housewife — a potiche, a decorative object — whose husband Robert (Fabrice Luchini) cheats on her, ignores her in favor of tyrannically running her family’s factory (that makes, naturally, umbrellas) and, shame of all shames, forgets her birthday. Suzanne is uncomplaining and irreproachably coiffed, spending her days puttering around the house and turning a blind eye to her husband’s indiscretions… until the stress of striking workers destroys his health and leaves her temporarily in charge of running the company.

Based on a play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy, and set in 1977, “Potiche” finds Ozon back in the campy territory of “8 Women,” though the winking here is less aggressive and strained. François Ozon’s frothy, candy-colored comedy could be described as women’s lib kitsch — set in 1977, it’s the story of a mid-life awakenin and workers’ rights discussions that’s really just a giant valentine to Catherine Deneuve, visibly enjoying herself in the role.

Accused by her daughter Joëlle (Judith Godrèche) of complacency, Suzanne discovers a talent for negotiating with the workers and running an ethical, caring corporation (she dismisses a plan to outsource manufacturing to Tunisia as unfair to the longterm employees — ah, the movies) that leads to major changes in how she sees herself and her place in the world. Also in the mix is Maurice Babin (Gérard Depardieu), a local politician and communist party member who was once Suzanne’s lover; Nadège (Karin Viard), Robert’s secretary and lover who begins to reconsider her own position when Suzanne comes into power; and Laurent (Jérémie Renier), Suzanne’s art school son with a taste for Kandinsky and flamboyant scarves.

“Potiche” is not subtle in its storytelling — Robert is a cartoon villain, apoplectic and chauvinist, spouting lines like “Your job is to share my opinions, not have your own,” which makes it all the easier to take pleasure in Suzanne’s flowering in her new position and new responsibilities. But even as she triumphs, Suzanne is never vengeful or angry. Her journey is one of self-discovery, not striking back, and when she finally discards Robert it’s almost as an afterthought, the new life she’s discovered far more involving than any resentment she might have carried.

“Potiche”‘s most affirming moment may actually be the turn taken in the storyline with the fond Babin, after Suzanne unapologetically confesses to details of her romantic past — this isn’t a film about a woman finding the man she should have ended up with, it’s one about her discovering the life she wants to lead.

“Potiche” will be released by Music Box Films in 2011.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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