Lancaster is an American professor who lives alone in an ornate Roman house filled with 18th-century British family paintings, which are called "conversation pieces." Into this well-ordered life comes a decadent matriarch (Mangano), her nubile teenage daughter, her husband, and her
sometime-lover (Berger). They rent the upstairs apartment, and thus begins a series of intrigues, sexual involvements, and eventually the death of Berger. Flashbacks of Lancaster's life reveal his relationships with his wife, Cardinale, and his mother, Sanda. It's an interior film, the main sets
being Lancaster's and Mangano's apartments. The language is as ornate as the furniture, and t...