Virtually from the opening shots, when the stall-holder Israel's magical music-box plays 'Love is a Many Splendoured Thing', we know that this is a film more about love than lies. And, since love means dreams, Israel's fantasies take off in the direction of his Phenomenal Museum, north of the Mexican border, which is intended to house a mechanical light-and-music show that Israel has built with his gay friend Matilde. The stars of the show are a collection of fine porcelain dolls, which are forsaken as Israel finds himself falling for Clara, the municipal inspector who threatens to close his market stall. To her he shows a side of life he dare not show his wife: his love of astrology, necromancy and clairvoyance. In so doing, he puts the knowledge of her fate into Clara's hands... Alongside the sadness and inadequacies of the ordinary lives it describes, this is a rich and witty film that prises open the little secrets of the human condition.