Alex is a liberated, apparently sturdy yet vulnerable woman in her thirties. She earns her living as a market trader and with building work - she has no trouble matching up to the men. She works on renovating an old dilapidated house, high up and lonely in the mountains of the Ardèche, in the hope that her teenage son Xavier, who was not brought up by her, will move in. The walls she is restoring are like her life, which she wants to build up bit by bit. Because it's clear that she has just lived through some difficult years - in her own defensive words, she says to her son: 'I was unstable.' She is still easily upset and can become angry and aggressive.