A young woman called France (Perrier; Ducasse as a child) returns to the Cameroons, where she recalls (in one long flashback) her childhood as the daughter of a district governor of French West Africa. This idyllic existence is shattered when a plane prangs near her home, forcing the stranded passengers to stay with her parents. The motley crew - all demonstrating various aspects of empire-building - include a white plantation owner and his black concubine, a newly-wed couple on their first visit to the dark continent, and an ex-priest (Adelin) full of Rousseau-esque ideals who turns out to be the worst of the lot. It is his influence that destroys France's friendship with the houseboy (de Bankolé), and prompts her mother (Boschi) to make a pass at the servant. In her amazingly assured debut, Clare Denis draws out the implications of the action with great subtlety. She makes the most of the exotic location, and elicits strong performances from all her cast. Abdullah Ibrahim's excellent score enhances the atmosphere of repression and frustration.