Leonor and Rogério have been married for ten years. Leonor arranges a garden-arty on the esplanade of her husband's beautiful palace at Ponta Delgada in the Azores to celebrate the event. Two friends, a famous Greek actress of a certain age, accompanied by her lover Michel, an inveterate ladies man, join them. Michel, true to his reputation, tries to seduce Leonor...
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"Words, words and more words. Phrases like rivers of lava which engulf all that lies in their path. Manoel de Oliveira's new film is a verbal parade in which four characters tangle with every shade and nuance of love and desire... Seduction, they say, is a much more complex and unpredictable art than it seems... Here, the mind speaks louder than the heart... Repartee counts for more than the amorous destiny of this talkative foursome for whom the act itself is another story entirely. In a supremely elegant setting, framed with careful refinement, Manoel de Oliveira films dialogue. In the guise of stylistic effect he indulges in the occasional fight of strange fantasy, his trademark of sorts... For the actors, Michel Piccoli and Irène Papas in particular, the text is a veritable feast, and Oliveira himself seems to have really relished seeing these "warriors of the word" putting their hearts into it. (...) "
(Jean-Claude Loiseau - Télérama)