Theatrical release poster
Directed by François Ozon
Produced by Éric Altmayer
Nicolas Altmayer
Screenplay by François Ozon
Story by Pierre Barillet
Jean-Pierre Grédy
Starring Catherine Deneuve
Gérard Depardieu
Fabrice Luchini
Karin Viard
Judith Godrèche
Jérémie Renier
Music by Philippe Rombi
Cinematography Yorick Le Saux
Edited by Laure Gardette
Mandarin Cinéma
Production Services Belgium
Distributed by Mars Distribution
Release dates
Running time
99 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $11.2 million
Box office $28.8 million[1]

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" 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]



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 with "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 is due to come out 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.


  1. http://www.jpbox-office.com/fichfilm.php?id=11624
  2. 1 2 "Film profile: Potiche". Cineuropa. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 "Potiche press kit" (PDF). Wild Bunch. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  4. "Bouli Lanners et " Tête de boeuf ", les Magritte du cinéma belge". Le Soir (in French). 4 February 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  5. 1 2 Vern, Romain Le (2010-11-10). "Potiche : interview François Ozon". Excessif.com (in French). TF1. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  6. Lemercier, Fabien (2009-10-27). "Deneuve and Depardieu star in Ozon's Potiche". Cineuropa. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  7. "Venezia 67: Potiche - François Ozon". labiennale.org. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
  8. Lemercier, Fabien (2010-11-18). "Little White Lies, Potiche perform well in theatres". Cineuropa. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
  9. "Potiche (2010)". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  10. "Potiche". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
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