Taking a French-Canadian mining town, with all its feelings of dead-endedness, Jutra shows with some sympathy why people stay on. Events centre round one Christmas in the life of young Benoît (Gagnon), who works for his uncle, also the undertaker, in the general store. Against the background of communal festivities and the death of a boy, he becomes aware of the complexity of his own feelings and the fallibility and unhappiness of adults. A film of moments: Benoît's reaction to a girl first wearing make-up; glimpsing the notary's wife trying on a girdle; realising his uncle (Duceppe) is little more than a drunken sot; his revulsion at the dead boy's naked legs. Although sometimes lacking subtlety, the film avoids most of the clichés about adolescence and resists drawing conclusions.