Roselyne (Pasco), a teenage lion-tamer with a blonde mane of her own, befriends Thierry (Sandoz), who plays truant to hang around the Marseilles zoo where - under the demanding tutelage of a veteran (Monnet) - she cracks the whip to put the beasts through their paces. Fired by mutual passion, the pair fall in love both with the exhilaration of facing the big cats, and with each other. On the road with a circus, honing their skills, they graduate into professional artistes. Beineix says the film is a metaphor for the act of creation, 'the transformation of rough material into a piece of choreography, a moment of show, a performance'. However, like an underlying concern with the price of professionalism - as the pair become more skilled, innocence and love are lost - this theme remains implicit. Most viewers will remember only the dangerous exoticism of the caged beasts, and the lingering, sensuous shots of Roselyne's lithe, bespangled body. The dazzling finale, in which the elemental confrontation between female and feline aspires through baroque artifice to the level of myth, is a sensational moment. But two hours is a long time to wait for it.