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Dominique Marceau is a young Frenchwoman on trial for the slaying of her lover. The prosecuting attorney, Eparvier, claims it was an act of premeditated murder that warrants the death penalty. The defense attorney, Guérin, maintains that it was an act of passion and not punishable by death. As the trial progresses and the various testimonies of the witnesses are heard, the tragic story unfolds. For almost a year, Dominique has been living a wanton, bohemian life on the Paris Left Bank. One day she seduces Gilbert, a serious music student and the boyfriend of her sister Annie. Though he falls passionately in love with Dominique, she continues to have fleeting affairs with other men. Eventually her behavior so angers the jealous Gilbert that their affair ends in a violent quarrel. As the months pass, Dominique is reduced to prostitution while Gilbert becomes a well-known symphony conductor. When Dominique learns that Gilbert and Annie are officially engaged, she realizes that despite the quarrels, he was the only man she ever really loved. She rushes to his apartment and spends the night with him. In the morning, however, he throws her out and calls her a slut. Determined to prove her love, Dominique decides to commit suicide in his presence; but when he brutally insults her, she fires six bullets into his body. She then attempts suicide but is found and rescued by the police. When all the testimony has been submitted, Dominique realizes that because of her sordid life the jury is unconvinced that her love for Gilbert was real. As her fate is being pondered, she returns to her prison cell and slashes her wrists with a piece of broken mirror.