1844. In the remote penal colony of Van Diemen`s Land, the adopted daughter of the island`s governor, a barefoot aboriginal girl, sits for a portrait. She is the object of a grand experiment to determine whether Christianity, science and reason can be imposed in place of savagery, impulse and desire. A quarter of a century later, Sir John Franklin and his crew disappear in the Arctic, seeking the Northwest Passage. England is horrified at reports of cannibalism filtering back from search parties. As several lives become conjoined by events and tragedies, `Wanting` becomes a remarkable meditation on the ways in which desire - and its denial - shape our lives.