Injustices and misdemeanors in agencies like the local police and the National Security Bureau (West Germany's equivalent of the American FBI) are featured in this highly politicized drama about Brasch, a teacher (Helmut Griem) and Koerner (Martin Benrath), a NSB agent. A polarized society is, at one end, terrified after a public official (Hanns Martin Schleyer) is kidnapped and at the other end, enraged by the mysterious, sudden deaths of members of the Baader-Meinhof leftist guerrillas in prison. Brasch sympathizes with the liberal causes, and after he implicates Koerner and the NSB in some dirty dealings that resulted in the suicide of a young teen, the schoolteacher is fired -- and so is Koerner for being caught out. Both men react combatively to their dismissals and the drama escalates.
Misery is brought to a small group of Sho in the Kalahari desert in the form of a cola bottle. In his quest to throw the evil object over the edge of the earth, Xixo encounters Western "civilization," a haphazard doctor and a tyranical despot.
A research scientist (William Hurt) explores the boundaries and frontiers of consciousness. Using sensory deprivation and hallucinogenic mixtures from native American shamans, he explores these altered states of consciousness and finds that memory, time, and perhaps reality itself are states of mind.