In 1956 Spain, Franco's international blockade is over and American film production companies begin arriving. Down-on-his-luck Sam Spiegelman has gotten a government grant to make a movie about Queen Isabella and his American team arrives: A Communist screenwriter fleeing McCarthy's witch-hunts, a swashbuckling leading man, a legendary director turned alcoholic has-been and leading lady Macarena Granada, a Hollywood mega-star who fled Spain during the civil war. They are met by their old friend, director Blas Fontiverso, who had been arrested in 1938 Berlin and thought dead. He is welcomed by most of the production, except his former wife, whose new husband has Blas arrested. The police take him to the mountains where Franco's gigantic civil war monument being built by prisoners. The movie production is complicated by its continuously drunken director, sexual tensions and petty power struggles. And throughout it all, Macarena is hatching a plan to free Blas.