Olga and Ruth become friends. Olga is independent, separated from her husband, living with an immigrant pianist, and teaching feminist literature. Ruth is withdrawn, a painter, possibly mentally ill. Ruth dreams in black and white, sometimes of her suicide. Olga lectures on a 19th-century writer, von Günderrode, a suicide after the breakup of her intense friendship with Bettina Brentano. Ruth's husband Franz encourages the women's friendship, then, as Olga draws Ruth out and the friendship deepens, he becomes jealous. After the women travel to Egypt, Franz has a tirade. Ruth seems crushed between her husband and her friend, and how she responds is the film's climax.