Set just prior to the Prague Spring in 1968, this erotic war drama tells the story of a womanizing Czech surgeon, Tomas (Day-Lewis), who marries shy beauty Tereza (Binoche), while continuing to carry on a heated affair with libertine Sabina (Olin). Tomas despises politics, but after the Soviets invade, he's forced to take a position. He must re-assess his philosophy of love as well, when the Communist authorities investigate his past and Sabina flees to Geneva.
Based on Milan Kundera's heady novel, Kaufman's steamy film about a playboy doctor who wishes to live without the burden of commitments — whether to people or ideologies — was the kind of art-house film that Americans flocked to in droves. It's not hard to see why: a distinguished cast, including the phenomenal Day-Lewis and Binoche; titillating lovemaking scenes featuring the stunning Olin au naturel; and the tense, historic setting all contribute to a winning formula. Beyond its "Last Tango"-style prurience, this "Being" stands as an intelligent, involving rumination on eros and existence.