While working on a story in the border area, a young journalist discovers a divided town bisected by a river which is also the national frontier. He observes a surreal wedding in which the bride and her family stand on one shore and the groom and his relatives on the other, lost under a cold sky: figure in a landscape who only delude themselves that they are masters of the earth and their destiny.
The town, a remote ghost town, has been named ‘waiting room’ by the locals because most of its inhabitants are refugees from different countries and are now waiting for their turn to leave and start life anew ‘somewhere else’. In the course of his investigation he also comes upon an ageing, reclusive refugee who lives there cultivating a field. But the young journalist believes he is a famous Greek politician who disappeared years before. The man's identity is never resolved but the hapless refugees and divided village allow the reporter to understand his despair over the human condition.
Theo Angelopoulos' poetical allegory on the great open questions of our turbulent age is contemporary in its treatment of borders, refugees and a changing world since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.