One year into their marriage, Séverine (Catherine Deneuve) and Pierre (Jean Sorel) still sleep separately. Although unable to summon any physical desire for her husband, Séverine has a rich interior life centred on masochistic sexual fantasies. A job working as a prostitute in the afternoons offers her an outlet to explore her sexual side. One of Séverine’s regulars, thuggish gangster Marcel (Pierre Clementi), is perfectly suited to her inclinations but grows possessive, threatening to unspool the life she has created.
Buñuel brings a number of surreal touches to the film, which is less about sex than the effects of repression and the interplay between the face an individual presents to the world and their most personal and unrestrained thoughts.