Lucky for André Téchiné that he's so slick with exposition. In this melodrama, Frances (André Dussollier), an aging writer of crime novels, takes lodgings in a villa in Venice. He also marries Judith (Carole Bouquet), the real estate agent who rented him the place. When Frances's daughter Alice (Mélanie Thierry) goes missing, he hires Judith's old flame Anna Maria (Adriana Asti), an alcoholic ex PI, to track her down. Meanwhile, suspicious of Judith's polymorphously perverse past, he pays Anna Maria's unstable son, just out of prison, to keep tabs on her. And all this in the first half hour. But Téchiné doesn't have much use for Chabrol-like suspense in pursuing his juicy plot-lines, nor does he seem interested in his story's themes of voyeurism and narcissism. Instead, the pervasive morbidity of Venice holds the narrative together, and a melancholy that companionship, parenthood, and art can't console.