Seen through the filtered lens of boyhood memories, award-winning director Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina crafted this half-fictional, half-autobiographical account of a brief period in the history of an Algerian village. It is 1940, and the quiet town is ruled by French colonialists appointed by the Vichy government. Algerians are being called up for service in the Vichy military, and Jews in the village are in danger of deportation. A beautiful young schoolteacher named Claire Boyer (Veronique Jannot) arrives in town and turns every male head within miles, including 14-year-old Mouloud (Merwan Lakhdar-Hamina, the director's son). Simon Attal (Michel Boujenah), a fellow teacher and a Jew, is also attracted to Claire, and so is Mouloud's older brother. Suddenly two murders occur in the village, Simon is in danger of being deported, and the tone shifts from the dreams of boyhood to the realities of manhood.