It is called "Trub." It's a village in cheese-farming Emmental, deep in the cuckoo-clock belt. Trub is so folkloric there's an alpenhorn embroidered on theitown's flag. Bettina Oberli's wittily titled 2006 Late Bloomers, opening for a week at the BlueLight Cinemas in Cupertino, is a comedy that shows the downside of all that Swiss pastoralism.
An acute form of Calvinism left its shadow on the land, and Late Bloomers has an unusual situation: What it would be like to be the mother of the town's ornery minister and to be lectured at from the pulpit by your son?
The local shopkeeper Martha (Stephanie Glaser) is in her 80s. She's been a widow for nine months. She dresses in her best outfit when she goes to bed, in hopes she'll be found dead in it. Her dyed, scandalous pal Lisi (Heidi Maria Gl–ssner) offers to clean out Martha's closet. There, Lisi discovers evidence of a forbidden past. Back when Martha lived in the city, she'd been a corsetiere, with hopes of opening a Paris lingerie shop. Why not start anew? Some of Martha's friends discourage the plan at first: "What a fuss over clothes no one sees." But it's Martha's hypocrite of a holy son (Hanspeter Muller) who expresses the most outrage over an underwear shop in his village, with support from the unpleasant local political boss (Manfred Liechti).
This charming Swiss entry into the Oscars never got U.S. distribution, which is hard to understand. Late Bloomers frays a bit at the end, but this wouldn't hurt the film's undeniable appeal to an older audience that can still read subtitles. The film shows as part of the new monthly International Film Showcase at BlueLight, put together by Jo Alice Canterbury and Efi Lubliner, a series begun at the landmark Orinda Theater in January 2011. "It's a work of love," Lubliner explains. "What we're picking up is normal movies—not artsy-fartsy type film—good films often based on a true story."
Lubliner grew up in different parts of Europe: "In Italy and Greece and Turkey, England—I saw Godard and De Sica, and Bergman, all subtitled. I'd like to share some of that experience. If I can share some of what I've seen on the festival circuit, that's my payback. It's better than a million dollars."
Unrated, 90 min.