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A Spanish Cardinal in Rome learns that he has only one more year to live. Taking leave of the Pope (who is informed his Cardinal has a daughter and granddaughter), the Cardinal returns to the small Castilian village where he was born. The arrival of the Cardinal fills the villagers with unease and fear. He has come to settle the matter of his inheritance — age-old family vineyards which have provided the Vatican with wine, tilled fields and possessions normally found on a landed estate. The Cardinal's daughter, a well-known prostitute, returns to the village and father and daughter meet in a brothel close to the village. Their reappearance in the village after so many years. causes grave disquiet among their immediate family. For his part, however, the Cardinal is obsessed with settling all accounts before his death.