The setting is Berlin immediately following World War 2: the bombing, the concentration camps, and the crimes of the Soviet occupation are all in very recent memory. Kanon gives us Berlin of the Great Game - the great game of spies, the "game of mirrors," the kind of environment which helped to shape Graham Greene and John Le Carre. Enter Alex Meier, a Jewish escapee, sometime Communist, and reluctant recruit to the fledgling CIA. Kanon takes us on a tense journey through the shifting allegiances and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Berlin Airlift, with great pacing and deep humanity.
The scene at the opening night of Brecht's "Mother Courage" is worthy of Orson Welles, and proceeds into a chain lightning set of climactic revelations.