“Almost Peaceful” has been out for a few years, but now we Americans get to watch this subtitled French film about how people adapt and survive after war has torn them apart. It is set in Paris in August 1946 and centers on a group of people working for Albert (Simon Abkarian), a Jewish tailor. His employees are Jewish, too, and they have all been touched by Hitler’s wrath in one way or another.
Throughout the film, photo montages are used in place of the standard live action. This style is a perfect companion to a story that isn’t focused on narrative, but instead on the mere existence of these survivors. There’s no climatic moment, and no sweeping character arcs. There are people being people, only these folks have a lot more baggage than some.
This film may be too sentimental and hopeful for today’s jaded American audience, but as wars continue on this planet, the aftermath is people just like the ones in Albert’s shop. Some are defiant. Some are wistful. Some are sad. They have all reacted to tragedy in their own ways, and their lesson is something we all need to learn as there are whole generations of kids and adults living in similar yet different circumstances.