During a month-long summer holiday on a Swiss lake, 35-year-old diplomat Jerome (Brialy) makes the acquaintance of two teenage girls, feisty Laura (Romand) and her gorgeous, aloof half-sister, Claire (Laurence de Monaghan). He meets them through his old friend Aurora (Cornu), a writer and guest in the house where they live. Though Jerome is engaged, he becomes smitten with the idea of molding their youthful affections, reporting to Aurora everything that transpires.
One of the "Six Moral Tales" that New Wave director Rohmer crafted in sequence, "Claire's Knee" is that rare film where the barest of plots — Jerome's inexplicable desire to touch the teen's eroticized knee — actually works in service of the chatty idea-driven drama. Jerome explores the mysteries of love and his own libidinal desire sometimes cunningly and coldly, but Rohmer doesn't seem to pass judgment so much as invite us into the inner chamber of his thinking. See it too for Nestor Almendros' splendid color cinematography.