In 1849 on the French fishing island of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, Ariel Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica) awaits execution for murder under the watchful eye of the captain of the island guard (Daniel Auteuil), who is waiting for a guillotine to arrive from the mainland. The convict becomes the pet project of the captain's wife (Juliette Binoche), and as she guides him through rehabilitation, she tolerates criticism from the town's leadership.

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