Though script is underdeveloped and pic is assembled in workmanlike fashion, it does feature some nicely modulated performances.

A Swiss woman trying to recover from a stillbirth strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky old man who needs (but refuses) home care in “The Little Room.” Though the script (by distaff directorial duo Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond) is underdeveloped and pic is assembled in workmanlike fashion, it does feature some nicely modulated performances. Low-key item, representing Switzerland in this year’s foreign-language Oscar derby, should find room on fest rosters.

Cantankerous Edmond (Michel Bouquet) loves his plants more than he loves human beings, according to his busy son (Joel Delsaut), who wants him in a retirement home. Instead, he’s looked after by quivering health-care pro Rose (Florence Loiret Caille) in her first job after a traumatic childbirth she hasn’t quite processed. The two slowly grow closer, though the helmers set up contrasts and mirror images that are never fleshed out, or too obvious to add much nuance. Thesping is subtler, with Bouquet his usual dignified self and Loiret Caille looking in permanent need of a Xanax. Eric Caravaca, as Rose’s concerned hubby, offers solid support. Production design is a little squalid, but other tech credits are OK.

The Little Room

Switzerland-Luxembourg

Production

A Vega Distribution (in Switzerland)/Iris Distribution (in Luxembourg) release of a Vega Film, Iris Prods. production, in association with Television Suisse Romande. (International sales: Vega Film, Zurich.) Produced by Ruth Waldburger. Co-producer, Nicolas Steil. Directed, written by Stephanie Chuat, Veronique Reymond.

Crew

Camera (widescreen), Pierre Milon; editor, Thierry Faber; music, Emre Sevindik; production designer, Daniel Raduta; costume designer, Magdalena Labuz. Reviewed on DVD, Rome, Nov. 5, 2010. (In Locarno, Montreal film festivals.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Michel Bouquet, Florence Loiret Caille, Eric Caravaca, Joel Delsaut, Valerie Bodson, Fabienne Barraud, Frederic Landenberg. (French, English dialogue)

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