The mayor presides over a village in the Vendée, the médiathèque is the sports and culture complex he's trying to build and the tree is a schoolmaster's cherished willow which stands in the middle of the proposed development. The film hinges together are long conversations about town versus country, about ecology (progressive or reactionary?), about local and national politics. Usually with Rohmer, characters reveal themselves via their shifting affections for one another; here character emerges in discussion of the issues. The finale is also somewhat of a departure, with the actors bursting into Demy-esque song. Telling the story in seven chapters, all beginning, 'If it hadn't been for...', is a characteristic framework for a less than characteristic movie.