Alzheimer’s disease turns out to be a minor blessing for the protag of “Small World,” Gallic helmer Bruno Chiche’s French-language adaptation of the Austrian bestseller by Martin Suter. Well-structured story uses the fact that, though Alzheimer’s patients lose track of the present, childhood memories return to them vividly, which here might inadvertently uncover a dark family secret. Classically directed to the point of feeling slightly musty, pic was already released in German- and French-speaking Europe and did middling biz on both sides of the Rhine. Name cast headed by Gerard Depardieu should help it nab some ancillary deals.
Simple soul Conrad (Depardieu) is a family friend of the rich Senns, and works for them as a janitor. But his encroaching illness has become a liability for the family, which includes Conrad’s childhood chum (Niels Arestrup) and the clan’s icy matriarch (Francoise Fabian). Conrad’s former lover (Nathalie Baye) and the no-nonsense fiancee (Alexandra Maria Lara) of the family’s youngest scion (Yannick Renier) offer Conrad some comfort in an increasingly hostile environment. Well-acted pic is plushly appointed and Klaus Badelt’s score classy, but overall result, while respectable, lacks that spark of originality.