Resnais has preserved the theatrical conventions of Henry Bernstein's 1929 period piece, complete with interval curtains, stage lighting and enclosed sets. Why he chose this particular vehicle becomes clear as female anguish and the corrosive power of memory move centre stage. Settled hubby and violinist Pierre (Arditi) invites his more celebrated recitalist friend Marcel (Dussollier) to dinner. Pierre's wife Romaine (Azéma) falls for Marcel as he delivers a melancholy speech about faithless mistresses and the depths of his soul, and during their ensuing affair determines to prove him wrong. The grandly swooning passion, the petals of a rose pressed in a diary - the matter may be dated but the delivery is compelling. There is real pain and cruelty here among the Brahms duets.