Countess Charlotte and Baron Edouard, once madly in love, meet by chance twenty years after having last seen each other. They decide to marry and devote their time to their relationship and the development of their estate in Tuscany. The couple are joined by Otton (an architect and close friend of Edouard's) along with Charlotte's goddaughter, Ottilie. After a communal read ing of a treatise on "elective affinities" - the inexplicable law that separates paired elements and makes them change partners - the two couples experience the same results. After a passionate night between Edouard and Charlotte a child is born that mysteriously resembles Ottilie and Otton. The life and death of the child dramatically marks the parallel progression of the two love stories.
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"... We wanted to tell love stories..." "... We tried to get closer to the mystery of elective affinities, in nature and between men..." "... We have always been fond of Gothe's work: he was the father of all romantic struggles..." (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani)