An aging writer of successful crime fiction (André Dussollier as Francis) decamps to Venice to write his next novel. He tells his real estate agent (Carole Bouquet as Judith) that he’s isn’t looking for anything grand, a couple rooms, a view. She suggests a modern home on the remote island of Sant’Ersamo with magnificent views of the city, a beach, surrounded by vineyards in the rear. He suggests it might be a little out of his price range. We’re treated to the only view of San Marco in the film as they motor over to take a look, though it remains obscured by a passing cruise ship. The director André Téchiné is not interested in engaging in pornographic shots of tourist attractions, as Woody Allen is wont to do. (To be fair, Woody Allen is an American and it’s not surprising that his European films tend to ogle.) For M. Téchiné this beauty is a birthright, and like most Europeans he almost takes it for granted. This expectation of beauty helps propel the narrative along (Venice just happens to be the milieu). Judith’s motor-boat breaks down and the two of them must propel themselves out of the cruise liner’s wake with oars. The little sea and the big ship that separate them from death and cut them off from beauty, underlie the sense of precariousness that makes this film as memorable and as affecting as it is.