France, 16th century. A Catholic diplomat negotiates with Protestant leaders.
A rather broke but dedicated Catholic baron is sent by King Charles IX of France to negotiate with some Protestant representatives during the religious wars of the 16th century. His dedication, however, is more to his job and the success of his mission than to his young wife and family. The settings, the actual châteaux where the story took place; the dialogs, written in clear, pure classical French; the restrained but perfect acting make this film much more than another historical illustration. It shows, through the destiny of one man, how "reasons of state" will bring both satisfaction and bitterness, accomplishment and ruin, during the ill-fated bloody night of the St Barthelemy massacre (of which nothing is shown on screen).
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