In a nutshell: A group
of Jewish tailors and seamstresses try to reestablish their lives in Paris
after surviving the Holocaust.
Albert (Simon Abkarian) and Lea (Zabou Breitman) are two of the lucky
ones. They are Jews who survived WWII, and now, in 1946, they are
trying to put their lives back together in Paris. They own a small
tailor shop, and have hired six people, much more than he really needs,
to help him with the work. All save one are fellow Jewish survivors.
In a second floor shop, they spend the days sewing and making garments.
One of the workers frequents the prostitutes that hang out near a local
hotel, and starts to grow fond of one, Simone. Albert and Lea work
on putting the romance back into their marriage, something that Albert
finds difficult to do because of the anger that is still buried within
him. A pair of brothers come to apply for a job, but one of them
turns out to be a horrible tailor. They chat casually, and you can
almost feel their joy at the fact that their lives are now uneventful.
This is a movie about the Holocaust, except that it isn't about the
Holocaust. The things that happened to these people during the war
effect just about everything that they do, yet it is barely mentioned.
One person comments that "button hole" was a code word he used while in
hiding. The local matchmaker also sells scented soaps, and when someone
comments that "Your marriageable people smell of soap." she replies
"Was it better when soap smelled of marriageable people?" It is a
common event they have all endured, and because of that, they don't need
to talk about it.
This isn't a depressing and downbeat movie, though there are sad parts
to it. It is more of a slice of life film, showing how a small group
of people who have survived a horrible time and are now managing to piece
their lives back together. A warm film that makes you realize how
good most of us have it today.
This movie comes with a stereo French soundtrack, but unfortunately
the English subtitles are burned in, and are not optional. I can't
imagine why they did this. Granted, most of the people who purchase
or rent this DVD will want to use the translation, but there are many people
who would prefer to view the film without them too. One of the strengths
of the DVD format is that publisher can give viewers the option of having
subtitles or not. It is too bad that Empire Pictures didn't give
viewers that choice.
The soundtrack itself is clean and free of hiss and other defects.
The music comes through clearly and has a good range. A nice sounding
The movie looks about average for a recent film. The image is
sharp and clear, but a little aliasing is present. Some scenes are
a tad dark, but this isn't a big problem. The problem with the picture
is that there was a large amount of edge enhancement that has been applied
to the image. This is too bad, because the picture would have looked
much better without it.
This disc also includes a photo gallery, a biography of the director,
and a series of trailers.
While watching this movie, I couldn't help but be drawn into the lives
of these people. The quiet way the movie unfolds is nice and simple
yet very effective. The director wisely chose not to fill this movie
with flashbacks to the concentration camps and other horrors of the war.
Instead he let the people's reactions to the world around them tell the
viewers all they needed to know. A well made film that is recommended.