A period romance that attempts, unsuccessfully, to explore the blocked sensibilities of the Belgian bourgeoisie in a particular time and place (1955, Verviers, once preeminently a wool city), this quickly becomes suffocated by dramatic inertia, irrelevance and wool. Edouard Pierson (Irons, sporting two execrable accents: phony English and awesomely deliberate French) is a Belgian living, in self-imposed exile, in Southern Australia with his l2-year-old daughter, buying and selling wool for export; his Indonesian wife, met when he was a war pilot, is dead, and the daughter is a secret from his family, presumably because they might disapprove. When the wool-processing business run by brother Julien (Karyo) runs into trouble, he returns home alone, and initiates a difficult affair with a well-married country girl (Ardant, always a class act) in London and misty Verviers. Things change, and the past must be put behind. The film often looks great, but Andrien (who lives in Verviers) has clearly let his documentary instincts run riot. Wool pops up all the time, in bales, out of bales, on factory floors, felt, bought, sold and discussed. The result is inoffensive, but woolly.