A 16-year-old European boy falls in love with a 21-year-old girl, who toys with his feelings. To make matters worse, the boy's father has been committing adultery with the girl. During this experience the boy matures and becomes a man. The story unfolds against the backdrop of the
growing threat of war in Europe. This was actor Schell's first directorial effort and it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film.