Chronicled in this dark, intellectually demanding drama are the devastating effects of a child's death on a Swedish family. The death occurs while the family vacations on the Danish coast. The parents, Torun and Mikael, are accompanied by their two young sons, and Torun's sister, Ellen. One afternoon, Ellen, who is supposedly watching the boys play by the water, falls asleep and awakens to discover that one of the boys has drowned. Now she, as well as Torun and Mikael must pick up the shattered pieces of their lives. Torun, blames Ellen and herself for the death, while Ellen is consumed with guilt. Time passes and Torun and Mikael become uncommunicative. Torun refuses to express her grief, and the lonely Mikael becomes lovers with Ellen, not for affection, but as an expression of their pain and need for comfort. The situation comes to a head when Torun finally learns about the affair.
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