Colo (Isabelle Huppert) has come to Australia from France to stay with family friends, after the failure of her marriage. Tom (Norman Kaye) and his wife Beatrice (Monica Maughan) own a big house with a beautiful garden in the foothills outside Melbourne. Driving back from sightseeing with Tom, Colo crashes his car. She loses the sight in her left eye and that threatens the vision in her right eye. The specialist advises that the left eye must be removed, or she could go completely blind. She is appalled and terrified by the choice she has to make. Tom asks a young blind friend to talk to her. Robert (Robert Menzies) is immediately smitten by her and they become lovers. He helps her to see the possibility of blindness as a door to increased awareness, rather than a tragedy. Colo writes to her husband Francois, asking him not to come from France, but he does anyway. Robert immediately retreats, fearing that he has lost the only woman he has loved. Colo sends Francois away and goes to Robert, who is in his cactus nursery.