Rural France, 1542: after several years of unhappiness in his village, a young man suddenly disappears, leaving his wife and farm. Nine years later he returns from the war, a changed man; his story is convincing, his wife accepts him wholeheartedly, and his farm prospers. But doubts about his true identity are sown. The storyline is a legend which the French hold dear, and even inspired Montaigne to write an essay on its curiosity. For quite aside from the obvious interest over a possible impostor in the wrong bed, the story strikes deep at a philosophic knot: what constitutes human identity, or soul? And is a woman's love necessarily exclusive? Unfortunately the film lets the questions go hang, in favour of some admittedly successful courtroom drama, in which Depardieu reprises his role from Danton, where he has to talk as if his life depended on it (which it does). The decor is dripping with research from some university's medieval department: mud-caked codpieces and pigs rooting among the worzels, all filmed in glorious Squalorama. But there are enough courtroom reversals to keep Perry Mason fans more than happy. CPea.