In the hot summer of 1940 the German troops are just outside Paris, and numerous Pari-sians are leaving the city in a complete panic. LUCE ADER, the sensitive daughter of a factory owner, decides somewhat belatedly to escape as well, together with her arrogant fiancé BRUNO. Since they have a luxury automobile, the elderly society lady DIANE LESSING decides to join them, and brings along the sensitive homosexual dip-lomat LOÏC LHERMITTE with her. The four of them finally leave the city in the hopelessly overloaded luxury car, only to get stuck in the middle of a seemingly endless column of refugees along a dusty road outside Paris. During an attack by German dive-bombers their chauffeur, JEAN, is shot dead, and the car is severely damaged. Traveling any farther is now out of the question. A young farmer named MAURICE, although he is injured himself, gives the four of them a ride in his cart and takes them to the dirty little farm run by his resolute mother ARLETTE. At first the Parisians are appalled at the squalor of country life, and when Arlette actually urges them to work in the fields they start wondering how to get away. Bruno, in particular, regards manual labor as quite beneath him. He tries to get away on foot, but soon collapses with exhaustion, and Arlette has to pick him up and bring him back in a cart. Meanwhile Luce has grown ac-customed to the farm, and is beginning to enjoy country life... Eventually she and Maurice have a passionate affair. Loïc, too, slowly starts to appreciate the positive aspects of his new environment. At a large festival at the farm, city and country openly make peace with one another. Even Diane and Bruno are converted now. At this point the local landowner, a naive landed aristocrat, threatens to drive Arlette and the others off his land: she has stopped making any profit during the war and has failed to pay the count any rent for quite some time now. The Parisians now make use of their worldly knowledge to save the farm. Eventually they manage to embroil the greedy count in a risky poker game, and succeed in winning not only the farm but also his car. Just then Pétain announces the "ceasefire" over the radio. The effusive Parisians take their leave of Arlette and Maurice, get into their new car and drive back to Paris # straight into the arms of the Germans.
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