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Almost Peaceful (2005)

Simon Abkarian , Zabou Breitman , Michel Deville  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Simon Abkarian, Zabou Breitman, Vincent Elbaz, Lubna Azabal, Denis Podalydès
  • Directors: Michel Deville
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006SSR3I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Almost Peaceful" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set during the largely unexplored period immediately following World War II, the film follows a group of mostly Jewish Parisians who attempt to restart their lives and rekindle their capacity for happiness in the shadow of unspeakable horrors. Variety called it "thoroughly charming. Sad, gentle, and funny in the best French tradition of high quality cinema." A film by Marcelo Gomes . 94 minutes, color, French w/ English subtitles.


Like the work of an expert tailor, it's done with unobtrusive skill, essential warmth and seamless grace --Chicago Tribune

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer 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
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
'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
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Naveed
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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Button Up! March 20, 2006
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!
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