Mature clockmaker Radziwilowicz falls in love with young, vulnerable Beart, and the relationship between the two enters a metaphysical level.
Blackmail, obsessive love, jealousy, suicide. At first glance, it appears Jacques Rivette is lining up a B-movie thriller. As if.
Two-and-a-half hours later, the veteran director has completely diverted such pulp elements to his own devices. Breaking down the distinction between dream-logic and reality, he creates a mood that's close to Cocteau's Orphee, as clocksmith Julien (Radziwilowicz) falls in love with enigmatic Marie (Beart) while extorting money from textile retailer Madame X (Anne Brochet). The stylised dialogue occasionally strays into pretentiousness (particularly the recitations during the pair's lovemaking), suggesting the film is an intellectual exercise in metaphysical romance - Ghost for art-house audiences. But what it gains from structural analysis, it loses in emotional impact.
After a healthy start, pretentiousness lets down a promising premise, and the film just runs out of ticker.