Almost Peaceful

This 2002 drama from director Michel Deville (La lectrice) unfolds in a Parisian Jewish garment district in the summer of 1946. In the almost plotless narrative Holocaust survivors laboring in a tailor shop weave new beginnings from words—jokes, folklore, tales of daring during the occupation, remembrances of a lost prewar time—and those words gradually release underlying passions. An Auschwitz survivor falls in love with a prostitute, the shop owner's head is turned by a pretty gentile employee, and his wife finds herself drawn to a quiet man (Denis Podalydes, in an artful performance) who refuses to accept the loss of his family. Through its embrace of human imperfection the movie recalls with elegant formal simplicity the populist threads of 30s French cinema. In French with subtitles. 90 min.

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