Friday, January 7, 2011

Film Festival Opening Film Night: 'Potiche'

Last night was the opening film for the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It runs for the next twelve days screening primarily Independent films from the US and around the world. Over the past 22 years, we have distinguished ourselves from other film film festivals through the broad variety of films from new filmmakers. In fact, one third of the films being screened this year are by filmmakers whose entry was their first feature film. The festival screening board watches 3,000 films over the course of a year and selects roughly 200 that make it to the festival, so it isn't an easy task to select the very best from so many submissions.
The opening film last night was a French feature film called 'Potiche' (for plot description, see yesterday's post). If you are not accustomed to reading subtexts in foreign films, it can be challenging; however in the case of Potiche, I didn't mind at all. I was immediately drawn into the story and couldn't wait to read the next line of English text to keep up. I tried to listen in, but my French vocabulary is a bit weak. In my opinion, this film is marvelous! Catherine Deneuve is clearly the star of this picture, commanding attention from the very start. She plays Suzanne Bujol, a potiche, or trophy wife who suddenly finds her voice and becomes a modern business woman. It's a delightful comedy, directed by Fran├žois Ozon, and based on a 1980 stage play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy. Based in the late 70's it has a zany, screwball comedy style that has direct ties to modern French politics. For the observer of French life, the film has numerous "inside" jokes to delight the French, and astute foreign viewers as well. Among other things, the story reflects the casual French attitude toward mistresses and affairs, so be prepared for the winks and not-so-subtle mentions of extramarital relations. Despite being a comedy, the film has an excellent storyline, with messages built in to inspire and delight. Well cast and directed with precision, Potiche is well worth your time.
The venerable Catherine Deneuve is masterful at comedy yet graceful too.


kenju said...

It sounds like a good film. If it comes here, I'll see it.

Anonymous said...

She has such classic beauty.

KathyA said...

Again, Palm Springs seems such an epicenter for cultural events. Can't wait to be out there for our visit in March.


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