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Dizzying and deadpan in the best Hartley style, Flirt begins in New York City with the story of Bill, whose girlfriend gives him an ultimatum a few hours before leaving for a trip to Paris: make a commitment or end the relationship.
Asking for ninety minutes to think it over, he sets out to investigate the only remaining romantic possibility in his life--a married woman named Margaret. Instead, he is forced to confront Margaret's devastated husband, Walter, who turns up with a gun, threatening to shoot himself. Bill's efforts to save Walter wind up literally exploding in his face.
The film then proceeds to tell a variation of the same basic story two more times: in Berlin, where the central character is Dwight, a young black American unable to settle down with his boyfriend, Johan, an older German art dealer; and in Tokyo, where a dance student named Miho is torn between her teacher/choreographer, Mr. Ozu and her boyfriend, an American filmmaker.