Based on three Henry James stories — “The Altar of the Dead,” “The Beast in the Jungle” and “The Way It Came” — this was Francois Truffaut’s seventeenth film and the third in which he’d also act. He plays Julien Davenne, a newspaper editor who specializes at obituaries and who keeps a special room in his house to pay tribute to his decade-gone wife Julie.

A thunderstorm destroys the room and Julien finds an abandoned chapel that he transforms into a celebration of all the people he has lost in his life — the room is actually filled with photos of people from Truffaut’s life — yet refuses to include a photo for his friend Cécilia Mandel (Nathalie Baye), who wants to include her lover Paul Massigny’s image. At one point, Paul and Julien were best friends, but something happened.

When the relationship between Julien and Cécilia ends, he locks himself in his home and refuses to eat. She writes him and urges him to forgive Paul. He does and they visit the chapel one more time, at which point he dies and she leaves behind a picture and candle for him.

Truffaut had watched his movie Shoot the Piano Player and suddenly saw that half the cast was dead and it was only seventeen years old. He wondered why we could not have the same affection for the dead as those that were alive when he made this. This ended up being one of his best reviewed films but one of his biggest financial failures.

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