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In Movies & TV Reviews

Catherine Deneuve (center) is pitch perfect as Suzanne Pujol in Francois Ozon's "Potiche."

Ozon's satirical '70s comedy "Potiche" opens on Downer

Francois Ozon's film "Swimming Pool" was a favorite around here when it appeared in theaters in Milwaukee in 2003. His latest film, "Potiche," starring Catherine Deneuve as the trophy wife of the title, opens Friday, May 13 at The Downer Theatre.

The period film – set in a French provincial town in 1977 – was as smash in France, where it was nominated for four French "Oscars," and was selected for the 2010 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.

Based on a play of the same name, "Potiche" is the story of Suzanne Pujol, a submissive wife (played by Deneuve) of the owner of an umbrella factory inherited from her father. When he is taken hostage by workers during a strike, his failing heart takes him out of service for a while.

Suzanne steps in to run the company in his absence and does a great job, earning the workers' loyalty, collaborating with communist MP Babin (Gerard Depardieu) and even bringing her children into the business – something her husband has been loathe to do. The daughter helps manage the factory and the son creates intriguing and well-received new products.

But when, Mr. Pujol returns, all hell breaks loose in this satirical and comedic film, which boasts some real laugh out loud moments.

Past affairs come to light, political intrigue takes unexpected turns and everyone is surprised to learn that Suzanne Pujol – beyond her unexpected management skills – is nothing like the image she has projected.

UWM Union Theatre also has a couple interesting films screening this week, too (unsurprisingly).

On Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m., you can see a free showing of "The Arbor," director Clio Barnard's 94-minute video documentary on the life and work of late British playwright Andrea Dunbar. Dunbar, best known for her work "Rita, Sue and Bob, Too," died tragically at age 29 in 1990.

Barnard spent two years talking to the people around Dunbar -- her family, friends, neighbors -- to tell the story of an admired artist who struggled in her relationship with her daughter. Then, she created this unusual film in which actors perform the anecdotes collected, lip-syncing and interpreting them in staged scenes.

Then, on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, at 11 p.m. you can catch free screenings of Bruce LaBruce's "L.A. Zombie."

The filmmaker's synopsis declares that "'L.A. Zombie' is a hardcorn zombie splatter / gore porn movie. It exists in softcore and harcore versions."

UWM will screen the 63-minute softcore, theatrical version. Don't worry, you'll still get some "gory gay zombie sex."

Theaters and showtimes for Potiche


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