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Almost Peaceful (Version française) [Import]

Simon Abkarian , Zabou Breitman , Michel Deville    Unrated   DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Original Look at Life in Paris After World War II March 28 2006
By Timothy Kearney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
ALMOST PEACEFUL is a film I stumbled upon and one I soon discovered a film with a simplicity that is moving. It tells the story of a small group of people working in a tailor shop in Paris after World War II. Most are Jewish and each had a different experience during the war from being a member of the resistance to suffering in the concentration camps. We meet a wide array of characters ranging form early adulthood to close to late in life: two younger men who escaped when a French police officer attempted to turn him over to the Nazis, and another who longs for love but seems afraid to experience it so he spends time with a call girl who falls in love with him. We feel for the man who waits for his family to return knowing it will never happen. A woman who steels soap but has a true passion for creating love matches adds a bit of humor. All the characters are connected through husband and wife who stay together and seem to be a happy couple but secretly love someone else.

The title of the film is perfect. There is a sense that the war is over and life will return to some kind of normalcy, perhaps even be better. Yet there is also an uneasiness. While there is a slight toleration of Jews in France in 1946, everyone knows it will not last. The only guarantee of any happiness will be in the community the group forms, and somehow we know it will happen.

The film is enjoyable because of its delightful characters, and in some ways it is a film that could be called more a character sketch than a story. It gives the viewer a glimpse of life that in 1946 is all but forgotten and reminds us of both the scars that were a part of the aftermath of World War II and also the faint hope that was real as well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Communal Nurturing and Healing Among Friends of Scars from the War July 17 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
'Un monde presque paisible' (Almost Peaceful) is a touching little film that keeps its story so quietly gentle that the effect is genuinely memorable. Director and screenwriter Michel Deville based this engrossing movie on a novel by Robert Bober: it is a unique vision and sharing of how Jews recovered from WW II.

Set in 1946 in Paris, the owner of a tailoring business seeks out Jews who have either returned from the camps or have been in hiding, or were part of the Resistance, who by luck escaped the fate of so many others, or were outcast otherwise during the horrors of WW II and offers them employment and emotional support. These are healthy people physically: emotionally the damage is deep and requires tender nurturing to start the road to health. The story unfolds slowly and allows us to witness the means by which each of these victims help each other heal and regain self confidence and learn to live in a world without the fear of extermination. The movement of the story is one of emerging trust and the director and actors each bring to the concept a fine sense of history and of the manner in which fellowman can coexist with a little help from their friends.

The cast is uniformly excellent and the atmospheric cinematography by Andre Diot is stunningly beautiful and reminiscent of the post war France period. The musical score is solely dependent on string quartets and matches the intimacy of the message of the film. In French with English subtitles. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, July 06
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Characters of Almost Peaceful; by Mawra Malik April 28 2008
By Mawra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
In the film, Almost Peaceful by Michel Deville, we saw how different Jewish Parisians attempted to restart their lives and seek happiness after World War II. These people tried to move on in their lives, while still remembering their experiences from the Holocaust.
Albert, who is a character in the movie, was the tailing shop owner. When he was in a concentration camp, he mentioned that he would make a plan of how he would work out his tailoring. After the Holocaust, not only did he re-open his shop, but he also kept the people over there working effortlessly. Albert bought a painting from Madame Sarah only because he wanted to show his future generations what it was like back in the Holocaust. Albert and his wife Lea sent their two children to summer camps so they could lead a normal life as well.
A second example from the movie is the character Leon. He has a wife, Jacqueline, and she is pregnant with their second child. This shows that they are also moving on in their lives. Leon jokes around all the time with everyone at the tailor shop and is a great actor as well. Leon had lost many of his family members in the Holocaust and now he has the desire to have a big family. For example, when Jacqueline gives birth to their second child, Leon gets excited about his family photo (with future generations).
The third character that is trying to rekindle his capacity for happiness is Maurice. He is a very lonely man who seeks a prostitute, named Simone, to fill his sexual desires. Maurice goes to only her each time and this shows that he is looking for comfort and the warmth to get rid of his loneliness. As the movie goes on, Maurice becomes more open to Simone. For example, he took her to a coffee shop and he told her about his past life. Gradually, Maurice's relationship with Simone gets stronger and he finally expresses his feelings and all the sadness in his heart.
A last example would be the character Joseph. When he was small, his parents got arrested and he ran away. His parents didn't want to catch any attention so they didn't look back at him. Joseph went to an interview and he met the man who arrested his parents. However, Joseph wasn't scared; in fact he confronted the man. Even though Joseph felt sad about being separated from his parents, he felt happy deep inside because his parents let him free. Joseph just ran and didn't look back. Joseph tells the man that he will become a writer and write about his experience. This shows that he is ambitious to follow his dreams and brave enough to write his experience, even if it means recalling the painful truth.
The four characters Joseph, Leon, Albert, and Maurice, from the movie Almost Peaceful, try to restart their lives in different ways. Their objective wasn't to forget what happened to them during the Holocaust; they wanted to keep that in mind so that they could gather the courage to move on. After all, one's strength is more visible after they have tolerated more.
by Mawra Malik
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Button Up! March 20 2006
By Lee Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
European cinema can be a startling experience for U.S. viewers. In "Almost Peaceful" we seem to drop into the lives of the characters, flow with them for some time, and then drop out at the end of the film. Even in this serious/comic film, there seemed to be little build. That said, Simon Abkarian who played so well with Joan Allen in "Yes" is a Jewish tailor trying to start up his shop and rebuild his life after World War II's Hitler era. He employs a group of Jews who are also trying to rebuild their lives. His relationship with his wife Lea played by Zabou Breitman appears passionless and uninspired. They keep reading letters from their children received from camp. Lea has a crush on Charles, played by Denis Podalydes with such sadness as he longs for his family who apparently died in the camps. Vincent Elbaz plays a tailor and actor who has high energy and love of life, as he and his wife celebrate the birth of a second son. Stanislas Merhar plays the young tailor Maurice who has difficulty with romantic commitment and frequents a prostitute. Malik Zidi gives a good performance as the young tailor Joseph who the others help by continually re-doing his work as he puts buttons on the wrong side and other mistakes. Joseph eventually decides to work in the camp with children and the film ends. Michel Deville won the French Academy of Cinema's Best Director award in 1985 for "Peril en la Demeure." "Almost Peaceful" is an interesting peace, frequently moving, but one that from time to time left me wondering what was happening in the story. For instance, there is one fairytale sequence about a boy in a forest who breathes through a button in his neck. I'm not sure why. The film appears to be the characters' journey to find joy in the wake of profound tragedy. Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation March 16 2013
By John Krish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A virtually unknown movie - with an unknown cast here in Britain - but beguilingly simple and full of a touching humanity
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