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Twenty-year old misfit François earns his living by gathering boxes and bottles to resell to local shopkeepers. He lives with his grossly insensitive mother and stepfather. Mado is a gawky 11-year old, who is neglected by her family because of the oddness of the way she expresses her affection.
For reasons which never become clear, François kidnaps Mado, and takes her to live with him in the attic of his parents' home. Instead of feeling fear, Mado enters into the spirit of the abduction, and they joust with one another, increasingly finding love and comfort in their relationship.
When the police come upon them, however, they put an entirely different interpretation on their behavior. This drama is based on a true story.