The story takes place in wartime Guangzhou before the country’s liberation by the Communist Party of China in 1949. A young woman named Qiu Xi is a “boat person”, or Tanka, living in the coastal area of Guangdong Province. Qiu Xi becomes a servant to Yan Haiqing, played by actor Guo Xiaodong. She finds herself falling for the undercover communist agent who works with the Kuomintang regime that ruled China until 1949. The story unfolds as the two fall for each other but are kept at distance because of the wartime situation.
In a gritty and alternate 1985 the glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered an investigation into the killer is initiated.
This psychedelic tour of life after death is seen entirely from the point of view of Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a young American drug dealer and addict living in Tokyo with his prostitute sister, Linda (Paz de la Huerta).