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Hugo (Andrzej Zulawski) is a writer whose one great book was based on an affair he had with Lea (Charlotte Rampling), a sculptor. Bereft of inspiration for a follow-up, Hugo returns years later to rekindle the flame of romance and creativity. Lea soundly rejects him, and her student Prudence (Myriem Roussel) feels a burning hatred for the man who deserted the woman/teacher she admires. So after Hugo returns to his wife and family in Paris, Prudence hunts him down to perversely seduce him in a mocking manner. In the meantime, she and Hugo's son Martin (Jean-Claude Adelin) fall in love for real. After Prudence goes back home, Martin comes for a visit -- with accidentally unhappy results for all concerned.