Mimi Minus spreads out a paper with a chequered pattern and drinks repeatedly from a bottle containing and dark liquid which is never emptied. The chequered paper is successively covered in chaotic painting until, finally, it is rolled out of the way. Underneath is a fresh chequered paper. With very intensive cutting, the film is composed of infinitely varied primary contradictions - black versus white, circle versus square, order versus chaos.
"Like a Dream That Vanishes" continues Sternberg’s work in film both thematically and formally: the ephemerality of life echoed in the temporal nature of film, as the stuff of life echoed on the energy, life-force in rhythmic light pulses (Your life is like a candle burning). Imageless emulsion is inter-cut with brief shots of natural elements and mise-en-scene of the stages of human life: a little boy runs and falls; teens hang out together at night smoking; sun shines through tree branches; men pace, waiting; flashes of lightning; an elderly man speaks philosophically about miracles.