In his first movie "La Vieille Dame Indigne" (1965,from Brecht),René Allio showed an old lady who ,after spending her whole life taking care of her family ,spent the last eighteen months of her life living for herself (buying a car,going to the pictures ....)
Jeanne can't do that:will she be able to do that someday? Jeanne has charge of her old folks,her husband is a watchman : her stepson,Julien , went to prison and his fiancée is pregnant.Her life ,in spite of the title is stark and mediocre.She works in a cinema where they show Terence Young's "Mayerling" .She lives an imaginary life where her relatives become notably Franz-Josef and Rodolphe in spoofs on the Hapsburg tragedy .She turns the fiancée into a thriller heroine. When today's life becomes unbearable,the only way to go on is to invent your own life :vicariously living is a way to survive .
Gerard Depardieu appears in the buff in a short scene.