Mathias is eight and lives with his divorced mother in East Berlin. One day, he pays his father a surprise visit. When he opens the door, his father is confused—and Mathias notices that a strange woman is there. When he sees Mathias looking at a picture of Icarus, he distracts the boy from the situation and tells him the legend of Icarus. When his father promises him a sightseeing flight on his upcoming birthday, Mathias is excited; but it breaks his heart when his father fails to turn up on the appointed day. Mathias wanders through the city and decides that Icarus didn't crash because he wouldn’t listen, but because his father forgot him.