The enigmatic but vivid imagery of this loosely plotted film is based on a similarly evocative novel by the Italian author Antonio Tabucchi, Noturno Indiano. An old friend of the hero's has been living in Bombay with a prostitute. His friend Peter Schlemihl (Otto Tausig) is a concentration camp survivor, who went to India after being captivated by a photograph he saw there. When the prostitute writes to him in Europe asking that he rescue his friend from a mysterious malaise, he flies into India to try and help. When he gets to Bombay, he discovers that his friend has disappeared. Following the clues left behind by the friend, and based on his acquaintance with him, he journeys to Madras to speak to a Theosophist dignitary there, and then journeys on to Portugues Goa. With each step of his journey, the hero (Jean-Hugues Anglade) becomes more identified with his friend, and re-enacts in his own person the transformations he must have experienced.