Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Little Bedroom: Nurse-Patient Commiseration
old Edmond Berthoud is reaching the point when his natural cantankerousness can
no longer compensate for his failing body. Nevertheless, he wages a cold war
against his grown son and the Swiss visiting nurse service, but reaches an
unexpected détente with his newest care-giver. Perhaps because she has plenty
of her own issues, the nurse and her charge develop genuine empathy for each
other in Stéphanie Chuat & Véronique Reymond’s The Little Bedroom (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.
hardly knows his grown son Jacques’ American fiancée and likes her even less.
He is not exactly devastated by Jacques’ impending move to Chicago, but all the
resulting fussing about becomes a considerable annoyance. As usual, he tries to
take it out on his new nurse, Rose, but she has more gumption than her predecessors.
paper, Berthoud would appear to be a terrible assignment for Rose’s return to
work, following the still birth of her baby. She is still not over it, as her
husband Marc can tell only too plainly. Eventually, the frustrated Marc will
temporarily move out and the recently hospitalized Berthoud will move in, in
defiance of patient protocol and without the knowledge or consent of his son.
However, his decision to sleep in the eerily preserved children’s room rather
throws the still grieving healthcare professional for a loop.
Bedroom is a very nice
little movie that never gets excessively saccharine or simplistically pat.
Chuat & Reymond’s screenplay shows a sensitive understanding of life’s
messiness, but it can be a bit pedestrian at times.
veteran French screen actor Michel Bouquet puts on a clinic as Berthoud. Flinty
yet vulnerable beneath all the gruffness, he subverts all expectations of cutesy
senior citizens borne out of films like Marigold
Hotel. He doesn’t do quirky, but he develops some realistic chemistry with
Florence Loiret Caille’s Rose. Their relationship might be short-lived, but it
feels lived-in. Loiret Caille also goes all in as the faithful nurse, looking like
the personification of a migraine.
is a small film that treads down a rather well
worn path, but (metaphor alert) it does so quite sure-footedly. It is not essential,
but fans of French language cinema will appreciate the finely wrought work of
Bouquet (Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Bourdos’s Renoir
and Scrooge in a mid 1980s French television Christmas Carol, among scores of other screen credits).
Respectfully recommended, The Little
Bedroom opens this Friday (9/26) in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Michel Bouquet, Swiss Cinema