Brisseau's bleak tale takes the most unsympathetic character imaginable, the child killer Tessier (Cremer), and pleads his case. Tessier, a scientist, has a rebellious handicapped adolescent daughter. It's hinted that his fury about her plight might be behind his earlier murderous spree against kids who vandalised his lab. His treatment of his daughter is strict to the point of sadism. None the less, Tessier evokes pity as much as revulsion. He's a shy, taciturn figure who has lost his moral bearings, and Brisseau tells us at the outset that he is the murderer. Despite a creaky plot, this deeply unsettling character study is anchored by Cremer's brooding performance, and freshened by the Buñuel-like surrealist touches (the handicapped daughter could be a younger version of Tristana) and the director's resolute avoidance of serial-killer movie conventions.