Emmanuel Carrere's highly psychological drama is about details. Light reflects off darkened water. A man in a bathtub splashes away shaving cream as he shaves off his beard. He mentions shaving off his mustache. His wife, Agnes, comments that she has never seen him without it then while playfully sitting next to him on the side of the tub asks how he can stand the water being so hot.
She leaves to go down the stairs of a modern and cleanly furnished home. He asks her if she can turn the CD on to start and she agrees. Then Marc, while still in the tub begins to trim his mustache. He does so layer by layer. Then he places on the shaving cream and the mustache is eventually gone. Its remains are placed into the trash and then rinsed out of a tray. Their lives seem clean, neat and orderly.
When Agnes gets out of the shower she asks Marc to hand her a towel. He wraps her in it while ducking his head behind hers as they rest in front of a mirror. He eventually pops his head out. She says she is not opposed to the idea but they are already running late for a dinner with friends. Marc is stunned. Agnes walks away while he stares at his fully shaven face in the mirror.
During the car ride to their friends Marc says he will just find parking on his own and that Agnes can go on ahead inside the apartment. Agnes offers to stay with him, but he insists. She walks away and then stops and turns around back to the car. His eyes light up as if he's hoping and relieved that she will finally notice his lost mustache. She asks him to hand her the party gift that they have. He gives her the wrapped present and she continues on up.
Once he gets inside, Marc is not warmly welcomed by Serge who is Agnes's old boyfriend. Serge and his wife Nadia have a daughter who will not say hello to Marc and it is a tense dinner. No one mentions Marc's shaven mustache though Marc is reminded by Serge to compliment Nadia's new haircut. Which he does.
During the meal, Serge tells an interesting story about Agnes. That while they were on vacation during the winter with friends in a cabin they were told to keep the heat on low in every room so that way all the rooms could be heated without the fuse blowing. The first night there, the fuse blew and the heat was turned on all the way up in Agnes's room. She denied doing anything to the heat. The next night the fuse is fine and everyone thinks Agnes has learned her lesson only to find every other room is at - 5 degrees while Agnes's room has the heat on high. Someone had turned off the heat entirely to the other rooms. Serge says he admires Agnes for not giving in and admitting she did it. She says that's because she never did.
On the car ride back Marc and Agnes begin to seriously quarrel. He takes her hand and places it on his face asking repeatedly how she could not notice. Agnes later insists he never had a mustache. They call their friends in the middle of the night as their fight continues and neither Serge nor Nadia can remember the mustache. Later Serge says that Marc has not had a mustache in 15 years.
Marc begins to act aggressively and strangely even going so far as to dig the remains of the mustache out of the trash. Agnes calls for professional help to take Marc away but he overhears her talking about it with a friend and runs away to Hong Kong. His passport photo shows a man with a mustache. As did other photos of him on vacation in Bali. In Hong Kong he is allowed to see things with his own eyes rather than what Agnes tells him. But she finds him.
By Sarah Bahl