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Theo, an attractive German call boy, markets himself to other men in the personal ads of Berlin papers and leads an otherwise quiet life across the hall from Marie. Marie and Paul share an apartment that Marie pays for by working at a record store. A would-be writer, Paul spends his days sleeping or staring at the blank sheet of paper in his typewriter. After Paul leaves Marie for what he calls her "grotesque mediocrity," the protracted silence from across the hallway concerns Theo. Finally, on returning home one day, he observes that Marie's door is half open and ventures into her apartment to see if she is okay. Marie is devastated by Paul's departure and Theo takes it upon himself to coax her back to life. Strangely enough, he finds that she also awakens in him a desire for life that he had lost or given away to the countless men with whom he shares his body. When the two become intimate, Theo feels -- perhaps for the first time in a very long time -- that he is loved.