Jacques Perrin was awarded Best Actor at the 1966 Venice Film Festival for his gripping portrayal of a young writer's descent into madness. Alienated, neurotic, and plagued by guilt, Perrin retreats from reality, loses interest in work, and comes to the brink of suicide before being sent to an asylum for shock therapy. Escaping from the asylum, Perrin returns to his boyhood home, where he learns the reasons for his present mental state. The strong supporting cast, including Lea Padovani and Pier Paolo Capponi, bring credence to their roles, but it is De Seta's direction, Perrin's controlled performance, and a relatively subtle score by Ennio Morricone which keep this film from becoming as overwrought as it might have become in other hands.
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