In this masterpiece of contemplative cinema by Spain’s Víctor Erice (The Spirit of the Beehive), the painter Antonio López attempts, as he has many times before, to capture the play of light on the leaves of the quince tree in his garden, and discovers something eternal in the process.
On a dark night, the body of a well-known society woman is found; the investigators immediately suspect that the killer was the woman’s maid. For her part, the maid demands that the woman’s fiancé be brought in for questioning. Some journalists covering the story decide to follow up on the maid’s suggestion and gradually piece together the chain of events that led to the murder.
Doctor Fausto is observed by unknown creatures in outer space. All of a sudden, a strange woman appears in his life. Her strange behavior leads his life down the path to insanity.
The love between two gipsies, Juana La Zoronga and Rafael El Taranto, from different families in Barcelona is thwarted by the enmity between their respective parents. Rafael sees Juana dance at a gipsy wedding, and is captivated by her beauty and charm, and they fall in love, aided by their younger siblings who are secretly friends and sympathetic to the young lovers.
Candelas can’t forget her lover, Diego, who died in a fight. Antonio, who loves her, seeks to help get rid of her obsessions. While Candelas dances with passion Diego appears to her. His death is a drill. A fight to death happens between the two men.
Pompeyo and Rodolfo work at the “Heraldo de Madrid”, but they dream of becoming film actors. They go to a casting for an American film that is being shot for a few days in Madrid. After being rejected, as a way to become famous, they decide to fake the murder of one of them in the city’s Puerta del Sol Square. They steal a skeleton, burn it, and make everybody believe that it is the remains of Pompeyo. As part of the plan, Pompeyo goes to Barcelona. The plot thickens when Rodolfo is detained, accused of the murder.
Writer Ramón Gómez de la Serna makes a humorous monologue about the monocle without glass, the noises of the corral and the importance of the hand in the art of oratory.
Roman Emperor Octavian rules the empire from Rome, and his rival Marc Antony has taken Egyptian queen Cleopatra as his lover and seized the eastern empire, ruling it from Alexandria. Octavian intends to regain his empire by landing his army at Alexandria, besieging the city and capturing and executing the pair. However, while Octavian’s army is bigger than Marc Antony’s forces, he and Cleopatra have allies who can come to their aid. Both sides prepare for a final showdown.