Widower Edouard Pierson (Jeremy Irons) fought for Australia in World War Two, but he was born (and married) in Belgium. For the past twelve years, he has been living in Australia with his daughter. His occupation as a wool merchant is in keeping with his family's tradition. He is determined to remain in Australia, and is equally determined to keep his daughter (Danielle Lyttleton) from learning much about her mother, whom she never knew. Nonetheless, when his brother (Tcheky Karyo) calls urgently from Belgium, requesting his help in saving the family's business there, he returns to his hometown of Verviers. In addition to saving the family business, he comes to have second thoughts about returning to Australia after he has a brief affair with a Belgian woman (Fanny Ardant). Meanwhile, his daughter has made contact with her grandmother (Helene Surgere), and is beginning to learn about her mother.