Spring 1912. During her honeymoon voyage around the world, Juliette sadly discovers that the only reason her husband married her was for her father's factory. On board the liner, off the coast of India, she meets Esther, a young linen maid. Of modest background, she is betrothed to a clergyman whom she has only ever seen a photo of. Fascinated by this destiny full of adventure, and also by way of sheer bravado, Juliette, unknown to her husband, takes Esther's place. When she comes face to face with Gustav Walser, who takes her for Esther, she realises the gravity of her decision. Reality is much different from her flights of fancy. Gustav lives in the company of the Oppliger family who run the mission. Misery is rife, and Gustav is the epitome of intolerance. However, too late, Juliette has no other choice but to continue to play Esther...
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"My mother was born in India, on one such mission. My grandfather was himself a missionary and spent 28 years in India. Upon the death of his first wife, he wrote home to know if they could send him a new fiancée; the young lady who was to be my grandmother. She told me these stories when I was still a child. At first, it seemed easy to make a film about it. But as an adult one tends to view those bed-time stories differently. Much research, several trips to India, and a close reading of my grandparents private journals and letters only seemed to make the tale even harder to tell." (Markus Imhoof)