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NESSUN' DORMA (NO ONE SLEEPS) SYNOPSIS San Francisco is preparing for the premiere of a new staging of the Puccini opera, Turandot. The passionate story of the Chinese princess, Turandot, and the mysterious three riddles which are the key to her heart are on the lips of opera buffs throughout the city.

At the same time, a serial killer is haunting the gay bars of the city and is killing HIV positive young men. He paints the bodies of each of his victims with a red cross. Is this blasphemous sex play or the deeds of a mad homophobe? Local elections are around the corner and the religious right is losing no time capitalizing on the horror. They flood the television screens, decrying the supposed moral degradation of homosexuality.

A young gay East German medical student, Stefan arrives in the city for a mediacl congress and is following the trail of his dead father, a once high ranking AIDS researcher in the East. Stefan is investigating whether the HIV virus was an incremental result of secret human experiments that were conducted in US prisons in the seventies. Secret lists involving these biological experiments are rumored to have surfaced in San Francisco. Stefan's research is ridiculed by scientists and activists alike.

Stefan begins to neglect his work and is drawn into San Francisco's gay club scene. In the midst of wide-spread AIDS education and strict safe sex clubs, Stefan discovers that a shadow world is emerging on the border of death: people back-sliding into high-risk sex and HIV-infected gay men standing before the decision to fade away quietly or to fully live out once more their desires, dreams and fears. More than once, Stefan crosses the serial killer's trail and he comes to the attention of Homicide Detective Louise Tolliver, the SFPD officer in charge of the investigation. The tough woman detective brings Stefan in for an interview. Like most people from the Eastern bloc countries, Stefan distrusts officialdom and the police in particular. Stefan and Tolliver play a cat and mouse game but simultaneously seem to forge a strange connection.

Despite warnings and the near hysteria building in the city, Stefan continues to cruise in the clubs. He becomes involved with the enigmatic Jeffrey who fits vague descriptions of the murderer.. Its soon apparent that Jeffrey has been infected for year with HIV. His connection to a fundamentalist Christians is less apparent, but proves fateful. Like the Chinese Princess Turandot, Jeffrey doesn't believe in the signs of Stefan's feelings for him. Stefan wants to win Jeffrey's trust and affection, but to achieve that, he has to free Jeffrey from his own gay self-hatred. This requires a painful journey through Jeffrey's dark past and lays bare Stefan's own carefully repressed death wish.

Motivated by a mixture of professional utility and personal sympathy, Detective Louise Tolliver seeks further contact with Stefan in order to open up new avenues in the case. Stefan blocks her out of distrust. Unknowingly, he is drawn ever deeper into the Christian fanatics' web of influence. Another murder is committed, and the trail of the victim leads to the neurologist Dr. Burroughs who has also treated Jeffrey in the past. Stefan's suspicion falls again on Jeffrey, who again pushes Stefan away. Then Stefan discovers that Burroughs is probably in possession of the secret government lists, and that Burrough's influence is by no means confined to San Francisco. But by this time Stefan is the hunted, just as Louise Tolliver begins to focus her investigation on him. Stefan senses the solution is near, but he knows that he can conquer the endless ritual of destroying and being destroyed only if he confronts heads-on the greatest dangers: Jeffrey, Burroughs, and his own darkest side.

 



 


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