Albania, present day. Juli, Ben and Nora live in a desolate village where entire families were exiled during communism. On its edge, a mysterious swamp and overlooking all is the charming 'Bota' (Albanian for 'world') café. The café is run by fast talking Ben, 40‘s, yet its real heart is Ben's waitress cousin, Juli, late twenties. Juli dreams of leaving to pursue art but stays to take care of her grandmother, Noje. Juli presses Ben for answers about her missing brother, Pandi. Though he still sends money home, Juli has not heard from him since he took a trip with Ben to Greece. Behind the back of his depressed wife, Dita, Ben juggles an affair with Juli's friend, the lively Nora, mid-twenties. Things begin to change when a new highway nears the café. Juli starts to fall for Mili, a young engineer working with a German contractor, Phillip, to build the road. Juli recalls the final days of the Marxist regime after a retired teacher, Engjell, leaves an old magazine article written about her dead mother, Alba. As the highway approaches, the villagers have a final night of celebration and fireworks. Mili tells Phillip of a dark day long ago when several top officials and camp witnesses were shot and dumped into the swamp. This is the lasting wound that continues to haunt the lives and dreams of Juli, Ben & Nora. A simple phone mistake forces Ben to reveal that Juli’s missing brother is serving time in a Greek jail and will not be released for another nine years. Juli is devastated that it was Pandi who insisted the secret be kept from her. That night Nora tries to take Pandi’s money to give to Juli. As she removes the cash from Ben’s hiding place, Nora is accidentally killed by Ben who believes he has stopped a robbery. A destroyed Ben buries Nora in the swamp. Juli confronts her horrifying memory when as a child she watched her mother's bones being lifted from the bottom of the water. Exhausted Juli returns home only to find out that her grandmother, Noje, has died. When it rains, it pours. The following day, after Noje's funeral and just missing Mili, Juli waits for a bus to the Albanian capital. Ben disappears and it is left up to his wife, Dita, to open the doors of cafe Bota as the first customers from the newly opened highway begin to arrive.