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Caught listening to romantic records prohibited under the Cultural Revolution, "Four Eyes," a 14-year-old teenager, is accused of subversion and sent to a reeducation camp. This remote, half-ruined temple high in the mountains, requires neither barbed wire, walls, nor guardians to protect it. A former Red Guard, also under detention, directs the group of prisoners, which includes a maths teacher, a failed artist, two youths, and an elderly Bonze, who is a deaf-mute and seems to only be interested in the pigeons that inhabit the mountain. Four Eyes dreams only of escpe, but his attempts fail one after the other.