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The film takes place in 1955 in Nantes, in the middle of a naval worker's strike. François Guilbaud, a striking worker, rents a room in town from Madame Langlois, the widow of a colonel, whom she didn't love. Madame Langlois's son has also died, but his extravagant existence has left her penniless.
Guilbaud is involved with another worker, Violette, who becomes pregnant and wants to marry him. But he doesn't share the young woman's feelings. One night, he encounters Edith, the unhappy wife of Edmond Leroyer, a television salesman.