This collaborative film, banned for more than a decade by French censors as an attack on French colonialism (and now available only in shortened form), is a deeply felt study of African art and the decline it underwent as a result of its contact with Western civilization.
Clive Langham (Sir John Gielgud) spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives. He is a bitter man and he shows, through flashbacks, how spiteful, conniving and treacherous his family is. But is this how they really are or is it his own vindictive slant on things?
Prof. Henri Laborit uses the stories of the lives of three people to discuss behaviorist theories of survival, combat, rewards and punishment, and anxiety. René is a technical manager at a textile factory and must face the anxiety caused by corporate downsizing. Janine is a self-educated actress/stylist who learns that the wife of her lover is dying and must decide to let them reunite. Jean is a controversial career-climbing writer/politician at a crossroads in life.
In Paris, six people all look for love, despite typically having their romantic aspirations dashed at every turn.
A wallet lost and found opens the door to romantic adventure for Georges and Marguerite. After examining the ID papers of its owner, it is not a simple matter for Georges to turn the red wallet he found in to the police. Nor is it that Marguerite can recuperate her wallet without being piqued with curiosity about whom it was who found it. As they navigate the social protocols of giving and acknowledging thanks, turbulence enters their otherwise quotidian lives.
In a village in Yorkshire, Celia Teasdale, the wife of a school headmaster, takes a rest from her spring cleaning. Seated in her garden, she considers whether she should light a cigarette or not. Little does she know that her decision will result in two totally different outcomes. When she decides to smoke a cigarette, she is visited by Lionel Hepplewick, the school caretaker who has agreed to help out in her garden. Celia confesses that her husband no longer loves her, that he has taken to drink and risks losing his job.
Irrestisible charm and talent helps Serge Alexandre alias Stavisky, small-time swindler, to make friends with even most influential members of French industrial and political elite during the early 30s. But nothing lasts forever and when his great scam involving hundreds millions of francs gets exposed result is an unprecedented scandal that almost caused a civil war.
Evocation de la vie de Stavisky, escroc assassiné en janvier 1934 dans un châlet de Chamonix après avoir émis de faux bons de caisse au Crédit municipal de Bayonne.