The paths of people from various countries cross during the course of one night. They speak different languages, but they are fatefully bound together by the solitary quest for happiness and deliverance. Sloping paths are all that’s left for them in an age of lost perspectives, lost refuges and lost homelands. They sink deeper with every movement that should be liberating them. Every gesture of love becomes a gesture of humiliation. The desperate dance of their life has become a passionate dance of death.
Doctor Gesellius travels to China to research the effects of opium. There, he frees a young woman named Sin from a mafia led by Nun Chiang, who swears vengeance. On the way back to his home, Gesellius discovers that Sin is the illegitimate daughter of one of his colleagues, whose son is having an affair with the doctor’s wife. After the revealing discovery, his colleague’s son turns up poisoned, making Gesellius the prime suspect.
After the death of his son, father Walter throws away his red jacket. With an aid transport, the jacket arrives in the embattled Sarajevo, where little Nikola steals it. The red jacket becomes a loyal companion on the boy’s escape from the war.
This film tries to solve the classic brain-teaser “How can you get a wolf, a sheep and a cabbage across a river one at a time, without them eating each other.” The rational solution seems fine in theory, but does not work when applied to conflicts in real life.
Frantisek, the main character is returning to his family. Until now he’s been, “successfully” avoiding all relationships. He is an ingenuous and a pure person and thus, is regarded as an idiot. He becomes involved in various love and family conflicts. It is because he hasn’t experienced much of the “real” life that he is able to perceive human relationships in their genuineness.
Inge Duhan lives with her husband, the lawyer Erich Duhan, and her little daughter Susi in Berlin. Inge is a very attractive woman. She loves her husband and has always been faithful to him. On a holiday trip to the French Riviera Inge meet the charming painter Francard. A brief affair begins that turns into blackmail.
A prince of industry abandons his bride when his head is turned by a mysterious and beautiful woman. Catching a glimpse of Staacha through a train window, Henri LeBlanc is instantly bewitched. His resolve crumbles as she pleads for his help to escape her sinister travelling companion Dr. Karoff. She only reveals the truth after Henri is hopelessly under her spell.
Henrik Ibsen’s 1877 play Samfundets Stotter (Pillars of Society) was the source for this German drama. The plot centers upon a flagrant case of municipal corruption, carried out by the town’s “finest” people. The selfishness of the elite results in widespread tragedy, yet still the perpetrators hypocritically blame everyone but themselves.