The only residents of an isolated coastal town are women and young boys. After Nicholas sees a dead body on the seabed one day, he begins to question his surroundings and the legitimacy of the women looking after them.
A rural island where single women raise boys, with no adult men even alluded to. The women are recognisable as individuals just about, yet look uncannily similar. All are pale with their hair tightly tied back, wearing dull beige dresses, their faces looking like variations on Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. They take the children to swim in the day, and at night give them squid ink that they refer to as “medicine.” When inquisitive boy Nicholas (Max Brebant) swims further from the shore than he is supposed to, he sees a decaying corpse with a red starfish on its belly, but this is dismissed by his mother as imaginary. These are mysteries laid out before us, but the puzzle is never lined up perfectly nor is it purposefully addressed. For we are watching these events through the perspective of a young boy, one who is at an age where he is becoming curious and critical of his surroundings, but still a child.