Heated tempers, frustrated desires and dashed hopes plague a diverse group of individuals whose lives cross paths in Mexico City. There is the bar-owner's son, Chava (Juan Manuel Bernal), who yearns to emigrate to America. A poor barber, Abel (Bruno Bichir), is madly in love with the gorgeous Alma (Salma Hayek), who eventually becomes a high-class prostitute. Finally, there is Susanita (Margarita Sanz), the desperate spinster who pursues many love affairs in hopes of finding a husband. Adapted from the novel of the Egyptian Nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfuz.