When the first violinist of the Basileus Quartet dies, the remaining members of the group, all middle-aged bachelors, decide to separate for a while to experience the "real" world outside of Beethoven, Schubert and Ravel. But Diego feels uncomfortable with an attractive young woman from an agency; Guglielmo still can't act upon his homosexual desires; and Alvaro, worried about his poor health, checks into a clinic.

After Eduardo "Edo" Morelli, a young violin virtuoso, auditions with a superb performance, the Basileus Quartet is reborn. As they travel across Europe together, the prodigy's "virility" has a dire effect on the older men. Edo spurns Guglielmo's expression of love, and the repressed homosexual goes around the bend and is institutionalized. Diego, inspired by the violinist's lust for life, visits the woman he abandoned years ago and is spurned; he gives up on life. Only Alvaro finds a small share of happiness by accepting his limited role as a piano accompanist when Edo is booked for a tour in America.

The Basileus Quartet is an engaging film about the different cycles in men's lives and the regrets that often accompany middle age. The drama is carried along by fine classical music presentations and nuanced performances by the four lead characters, Omero Antonutti, Pierre Malet, Hector Alterio and Michel Vitold.