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The tale follows Bruno Forestier (Michel Subor- who looks remarkably like a young Harvey Keitel), a young Frenchman who deserted the army, and is living in exile in Geneva, Switzerland. He is narrating the tale from an indeterminate point in the future, so we know he will likely survive the film's ordeal. Ostensibly he's a reporter, yet he has nebulous ties to some Right Wing terror groups. Because he deserted the army he is blackmailed by them to do criminal `jobs' for them. They distrust him, suspect him of being a sellout, and order him to kill a man to prove his loyalty. He refuses-seeming to have a conversion just seconds before doing the deed, and falls out with his comrades. Yet, he is also feared and disdained by Left Wing terrorists from Algeria, who treat him with equal disgust. In the midst of all this he falls in love with Veronica (Anna Karina in her first movie).

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