The film tells the story of Freek Groenevelt and Simone Marijnissen whose lives are taken over by Joachim Stiller. He’s a bizarre character who influences Freek and Simone’s lives in different ways.
In this intricately layered film, the nature of actresses and what they gain from acting is explored. The lives of three actresses are laid bare, and scenes from their lives are woven in and out of interviews with each of them. Each of them has experienced a traumatic event which contributes to their particular enjoyment of becoming someone else in dramatic roles.
Set in the early 1970s, it tells the story of a Chinese-Japanese student who returns to her native Hong Kong after graduating from a university in London. Once she arrives back home, she and her family begins to fight, largely due to cultural and societal conflicts between her mother and herself.
Two young people are finally able to marry, but the war intervenes almost immediately and the husband never returns from it. The wife, however, lives on like an ever-reviving phoenix through her destructive experiences.
Naples, 1959. Renato Caccioppoli, university professor in pure mathematics, is a disillusioned and tormented man who lives the last days of his life. Grandson of Bakunin on his mother’s side, interned in a psychiatric hospital for his anti-fascist acts, abandoned by his wife, and now become estranged from his own Communist Party comrades and his University collaborators, he lives his life with disenchanted detachment until his last act, suicide.
The story, based on an ancient legend, concerns Hagbard, the son of a slain Norse king. Seeking revenge against the rival clan responsible for the killing, Hagbard calms down long enough to establish a truce. He also falls in love with Signe, daughter of his onetime enemy. Signe’s former beau, sizzling with jealousy, breaks the truce and makes it appear that Hagbard was responsible. The young prince escapes, but returns disguised as a woman to his beloved Signe.
Jan Kadar plays a Czech partisan fighter in the waning days of the war. Just as peace is declared, Kadar is shot in the spine and sent to the hospital emergency ward. As he fades in and out of consciousness, he recalls the events that led to his participation in the underground.
Kon Ichikawa’s rich adaptation of Natsume Soseki’s classic novel depicts a complex relationship between a student and an older man he calls “sensei.” The older man’s relations with his wife seems curiously strained to the student. When the boy goes to the country to tend to his dying father, he learns that “sensei” committed suicide.