The story centers on an unnamed university student, referred to as "you" by the narrator, as he suddenly quits attending school, cuts off his friends, and attempts to lead a fully automation-like life devoid of human interaction. His inner thoughts are narrated in the form of an unwritten diary with a sense of paranoia and claustrophobia that develops until he ultimately determines that, no matter what he does, life is futile. As a result, he dismisses isolation as a radical practice, and returns to normal life.
The film is the directorial debut of both Bernard Queysanne and Georges Perec. The film's script is borrowed completely from the text of the novel itself, though many parts were condensed to be brought to screen. The film was almost lost before being restored in 2007.