This film interweaves the stories of three characters. Jean comes from a middle-class background, lives with Janine for a time and suffers from renal colics. Janine comes from a working class, communist family, ends up working as a stylist in a textile factory, which brings her into contact with René, and fights to save her relationship with Jean. René, a married, practicing Catholic, leaves the farm to become an executive in a textile company. As much as they struggle to get a grasp on their situation, the three are unable to comprehend their own behaviour: they are human guinea pigs. To make sure we get the message, Henri Laborit frequently adds comments either on or off screen. Resnais uses the ideas of this French biologist and researcher as the basis for his film. Laborit explains human behaviour more or less like this: there is no point in getting any grand illusions about our day-to-day behaviour, our brain is like that of the rats that the scientist studies to shed light on their - and our - way of acting. In life we either dominate or are dominated. And this situation generates one of two possible impulses: fight or flight. The inability to respond in one of those two ways is what gives rise to inhibitions. Curious essay film, it seems to deny the scientific determinism in the same time as it seems to demonstrate its validity. Jury Special Award at Cannes.