Jean-Louis Trintignant's star was just rising when he took on the role of Carlo in this engrossing wartime coming-of-age story. Carlo is a young man living in his own world and blithely inattentive to the real war that is happening not very far away. This is particularly striking because he is the son of a high-level fascist.
The year is 1943 and he has gone to a seaside resort on vacation where he meets the beautiful, older widow Roberta (Eleonora Rossi Drago). Carlo is smitten and in spite of various obstacles, he and Roberta enter into a romantic liaison. Then one day Allied forces land on the coast and Carlo is faced with the realities of war and a reassessment of his life.