Curiosity about his father’s homeland sends American photographer Min Lin to Burma to immerse himself in its culture and build his portfolio. But it’s 1988 and pro-democracy activists are trying to overthrow the military regime. Min gets caught up in the movement after falling in love with one of its leaders. When she’s arrested, Min flees to the jungle and, joining the rebels, comes face-to-face with a Burmese army captain who looks exactly like him. After an explosion kills his double, Min awakes in a hospital misidentified as a hero of the regime, causing him to pose as the dead soldier for his own survival.
Escaping in 1990, he returns to the US, building a new life on his growing understanding of his homosexuality, when he learns a secret about his family’s history in Burma. Motivated by this knowledge decades later, Min decides to return to Burma — now Myanmar — to document a new wave of religious persecution and ethnonationalism. Still haunted by the events of ’88, and knowing his ex-girlfriend is being released from prison, Min must come to terms with his actions while seeking the truth about the double he met on a battlefield a lifetime ago.