Governor Heo, worried over the plague that's sweeping the country, rebukes the Kus who make amulets to ward off evil. Heo castrates the husband when he makes superstitious claims and takes the wife as his mistress. Heo continues to be tormented by hallucinations and nightmares and begins to blame it on the Kus' curse. He kills the couple at their reunion and unable to ward off his bad karma, dies from leprosy.
Ford plays an American doctor whose wife suddenly vanishes in Paris. To find her, he navigates a puzzling web of language, locale, laissez-faire cops, triplicate-form filling bureaucrats and a defiant, mysterious waif who knows more than she tells.
Jesus (Willem Dafoe), a humble Judean carpenter beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into revolutionary action against the Roman occupiers by Judas (Harvey Keitel) -- despite his protestations that love, not violence, is the path to salvation.
Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority".