Manon is a wartime drama that follows two German deserters and an orphaned French teenager as they coincide inside a war-torn village to escape their past mistakes and forthcoming enemy forces. The screenplay is set during World War Two in the fictional village of Marie-du-Glass (based on Oradour-sur-Glane). This once fairy-tale village is an allegory for the destruction of war upon innocent people, utilising cinematography over action set pieces to convey this.
The primary theme of Manon is guilt, exploring it as an essential but dangerous aspect of a person's psychology. Hugo is consistently overwhelmed by guilt, pushing him to make amends for his actions, leading to his downfall. Contrastingly, Hermann feels no guilt or remorse to the point where he ignores culpability, souring him internally. Lastly, Manon allows her guilt to fuel her revenge plot against Hugo and Hermann, who she blames for her families death. As well as these internal conflicts, their differing opinions force them against one another regularly, heightened furthermore by their desperation.
The screenplay begins in media-res, introducing the protagonists and establishing their character arches. Before section two, Hugo and Hermann search the house more thoroughly, finding nothing. Before section three, whilst searching for supplies, Hugo discovers women and children inside a church. After the extract, Manon fatally wounds Hugo as a group of British soldiers enter the village. Complying with Hugo's final thoughts, Hermann tries to escort Manon from danger but is apprehended by the soldiers and led out of the village towards an uncertain future.