A young man ditches the real world for that of film, but eventually comes to realize that running away is no substitute for the sublime beauty of everyday life. When Hilbert's father has a near-fatal heart attack, he falls into a downward spiral of introspection, re-evaluating and restructuring his life. The despondent young man turns away from his family and his girlfriend toward the comfort of an alternative world. Taking up residence in a cheap, downtown San Francisco hotel, he experiments with drugs and bisexuality and art. On an 8mm projector, he obsessively analyzes home movies from his childhood, comparing these films with his recollections of his youth. Memory and desire- spawned from what he imagined was reality versus what he sees in these movies -encourage Hilbert to create his own film, to re-write the past and blow the Oedipal triangle apart.