Sentenced to community service at a small, countryside church, Adam, a middle-aged neo-Nazi, is warmly welcomed by the cheerful vicar, Ivan. Although Adam is crude, full of hostility, and clearly beyond redemption, Ivan encourages him to choose a goal that will occupy his time there. When Adam dismissively replies that he will bake an apple pie, Ivan assigns him the task of nurturing the church's lone apple tree. If by the time this unassuming tree has been attacked by crows, infested with maggots, and struck by lighting, you are not reasonably certain it has become the battleground for a fiercely irreverent struggle between good and evil, then you have not had the pleasure of meeting an Anders Thomas Jensen film.
An actress (Laura Dern) is preparing for her big gest role yet for a director (Jeremy Irons), but when she finds herself falling for her co-star (Justin Theroux), she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they're shooting.
Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, 47, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy. And that's only the beginning. Soon, a seemingly endless onslaught of indescribably bizarre situations flashes across the screen: a sitcom featuring humans in bunny suits, a parallel story set in a wintry Poland, a houseful of dancing streetwalkers, screwdrivers in stomachs, menacing Polish carnies, and much, much more.
Director Raul Ruiz transports us to 1918 where Gustav Klimt (John Malkovich) lies on his deathbed.
We follow Klimt's feverish visions back to the Austrian pavilion at the World Exhibition of 1900 in Paris, where he is awarded the gold medal for his work entitled "Philosophy". We witness his encounters with the film magician, Méliès, with the mysterious French dancer, Lea de Castro (Saffron Burrows) and with the “Secretary of State", an oppressive fatherly figure who accompanies Klimt through the film like a shadow.
Gustav Klimt's paintings have a fascinating expressiveness, passion, sensuality, and like his own life, are dedicated to women. Way ahead of his time, he was celebrated in Paris but condemned in his home town of Vienna for being provocative.
Cameron Kincaid is a hotheaded young man and a fanatical film buff whose ardent wish is to become a major filmmaker. One day, Cameron decides to enter a student film competition, the winner of which will receive a scholarship to attend a famous film school in Los Angeles. Enlisting the aid of a retired lighting technician named Flash, whom he met at a screening of Orson Welles’s TOUCH OF EVIL, Cameron sets to work. Flash is the only surviving member of the crew that once worked on the legendary cinema classic, CITIZEN KANE. Flash introduces Cameron to a number of other old Hollywood hands all living in a home for elderly members of the film industry. Among Flash’s friends is Mickey Hopkins, a long forgotten screenwriter who is eking out an existence at a shabby-looking old people’s home. With the aid of these old-timers, Cameron succeeds in making a film to be proud of, about the plight of the nation’s elderly. Yet even more important than the film itself is Cameron’s relationship with his team of senior citizens.