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Marta, a European woman semi-happily married to a local physician. She learns that he has contracted lung cancer, but deliberately resists informing her of his dire impending fate -- because she's already emotionally fragile for the death of their young sons during the war. Then, one day, when she is walking with a friend, she catches a glimpse of a handsome, strapping 20-year-old man named Boguslaw and feels instantly drawn to his youth and sexuality. She then beckons him into a mentor-protégé relationship, which inevitably leads to an affair. She expresses her desire to collect rushes for the upcoming Pentecost feast, an event designed to celebrate life, and the passage of spring into summer -- but she doesn't realize that the freshness of life that beckoned her when she first spotted Boguslaw will ultimately be her undoing.