Natasha runs the canteen at a secret 1950s Soviet research institute. This is the beating heart of the DAU universe, everyone drops in here: the institute's employees, scientists and visiting foreign guests. Natasha's world is a small one, split between the demands of the canteen during the day and alcohol fuelled nights with her younger colleague Olga, during which the two confide their hopes of romance and for a different future. At a party one evening Natasha becomes close to a visiting French scientist Luc Bige and the two sleep together. The following day her life takes a dramatic turn when she is summoned to an interrogation by the KGB's General Vladimir Azhippo who questions the nature of her relationship with the foreign guest.