The nineteenth century has barely dawned in France when we meet Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier, best known for his work with Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne). Sobran is a young peasant who hungers for two things in life: to win the hand of the beautiful Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and to create wine in his own vineyard. While marriage to the fiery Celeste soon follows, his wine-making ambition is considered above his station, and the patron he serves fails to put his innate skills to use. One night, however, he encounters the angel Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), who sees Sobran’s passions as evidence of his profound humanity. Xas proposes that Sobran plant some vines the angel carries, and further, that they meet each year at the same time and place.
Unsettled and yet self-interested, Sobran agrees without being able to answer his own questions about who or what Xas actually is. The vines, however, are very real, and they grow and thrive. Soon Sobran encounters the next influence in his life, the proud, educated and vulnerable Baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga). Before long, he is as deeply entangled in Aurora’s emotional complexities as he is in her vineyard, leading to both spiritual and corporeal crises for everyone. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]