Set in Lebanon during the Ottoman Empire, Kamila, a widowed mother, works as the housekeeper for Mustafa, a foreign poet, painter, and political activist being held under house arrest. Mustafa is guarded by the soldier Halim, who has a secret crush on Kamila. Kamila's daughter, Almitra, has stopped talking due to her father's death, and has become a troublemaker who frequently steals from local merchants. Almitra has seagulls for her only friends; she even seems able to talk to them by making birdlike noises. Halim's pompous Sergeant arrives to tell Mustafa that he is now free, but he must board a ship to his home country by day's end. The Sergeant escorts Mustafa to the ship, and Mustafa spends the time conversing with Kamila, Almitra and Halim, as well as with the townspeople, who regard him as a hero. Mustafa's conversations, range in topics from freedom, parenthood, and marriage, to working, eating, love, and good & evil are animated by the movie's many directors in their own unique styles.