The year is 1942, and Paris is occupied by German forces.
Jewish theatre owner Lucas Steiner (Heinz Bennent) has handed over the control of his theatre to his actress wife Marion (Catherine Deneuve) while he hides out in the cellar, hoping to avoid capture by the Nazis.
During rehearsals for the next production, the presence of a womanising actor (Gerard Depardieu) and a Nazi-sympathising journalist cause many difficulties for Marion.
Eventually, she is forced to decide between her loyalty to her husband and her love for her countrymen, and acts out her solution in the production she has been rehearsing.
Nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, the film also won 10 French Academy Awards in 1981.