Berne, Switzerland 1943. Julien Rochelle, ambassador, is presiding at a dinner table at his right side, a woman Clothilde with whom he exchanges only a few words, as “words always come too soon… or too late”. Clothilde gone, Julien remembers…

North Africa, divided between two worlds, the European and the Arabian two eras the last great years of colonialism.

Julien, a young diplomat, is welcomed on his first mission, by Ambassador Vaudable. At a party, Julien meets Clothilde, whose husband, a French officer, might have gone on a mission in Siberia. Here begins a liaison, at first heavy with idleness and boredom, then soaring by its own strength, above social standards, out of time. a passion lived in Clothilde’s house at the border of the Arabian and the European quarters. Julien devotes more and more of his time to Clothilde, less and less to his job, in spite of discreet warnings from Vaudable.

Julien lives exclusively with Clothilde, before living for her. “Our love life fed on itself, it was a free gallop, side by side” But soon, this “gallop side by side” is no longer satisfying for Julien. He wants the whole of Clothilde, her past, her silences, her segrecies… He queries, searches. hunts her down…the game of jealousy sets in.

Now begins the infernal- dance who is Clothilde living with Julien? Who Clothilde whose husband has fled to the other end of the world? Who is Clothilde fascinated by te Arabic children? A double, a triple, a multifaced Clothilde, she becomes, all hell and evil, HECATE the unattainable.

Julien will live throughout madness: his or Clothilde’s? He’ll hunt for Clothilde, will he find her? At the hammam, at the brothel, in dim hotels, at the gate of a school … until the trap closes on him, down to scandal…

Julien must resign his post. Thanks to Vaudable’s mediation he’ll be able maintain his position in the diplomatic services. He chooses Siberia, where Clothilde’s husband had fled to.

Both men will acknowledge each other, and their same incurable illness, both of them haunted by HECATE’s sortileges, the three-headed goddess surrounded by hounds, snakes and thongs. who presided at the enchantments and witchcraft and whose altars were erected at crossroads.

plakat Feature, CH/F 1982
104′, colour, 35mm

Director Daniel Schmid

Original version: French

LPA, Paris
T&C Film, Zürich