A wizard brings to life anything people imagine for money, even huge, weird monsters. Late one night, a drunken guy comes out of a London pub. He sees a ragged travelling theatre in front of him. An actor dressed as Mercury invites people to participate in Dr.
Parnassus’ show. The drunk find everything happening funny, and he climbs on stage. He blatantly throws the male actors down on the sidewalk and harasses the girl actress. To hide from the swagger, she escapes into a fake mirror.
The drunk follows her and finds himself in a strange forest. The girl punches him in the face and runs back into the theatre. The guy falls into the mud and finds from the reflection of the puddle, that his face has changed drastically. The drunkard then ends up in a dump with empty bottles and cries out for help in desperation.
A hand descends from the sky, grabs him by the scruff and pulls him up into a jellyfish-filled space. The poor guy thinks this is all a hallucination. He begs to be released and promises to quit drinking. Then the hand throws him into another strange place.
At one side, the guy sees a ladder leading to the top of Mount Parnassus. A voice from above tells the guy that it is hard to climb, but that a heavenly life awaits at the top. On the other side is a pub. The guy forgets his vows and merrily walks into the pub for a drink.
The building immediately explodes, and the drunk passes away. Like many others, the unfortunate man could not get out of the looking glass. All this time, an elderly man is sitting on the theatre stage, meditating. The old man is Dr.
Parnassus, the wizard who, using his spells, transforms the looking-glass into an Imaginarium. Each visitor can delve into their own fantasies there. After sensing the explosion in the Imaginarium, the old man comes to his senses and is upset that the guy couldn’t be saved. And after that, he scolds the actress: “Don`t go through the mirror.
Never! You know that.” The girl is Parnassus’ daughter named Valentina. She is forbidden to go through the mirror for her own good. A drunken brawl ensues outside the theatre, and the police have already arrived. Parnassus convinces the policeman that the mirror is not magical, the drunken guy just ran out into the street from the other side of the stage.
The policeman believes the old man but asks the troupe to clear out. Dr Parnassus moves his theatre to a new location. While the troupe is ushering people in, a misbehaving boy accidentally wanders into the mirror.
Would he too fall into a terrible trap? This time, however, the Imaginarium looks very different. The boy is having fun in a fantasy world and bursting huge soap bubbles. However, his parents are worried about him, and Dr Parnassus returns the child to the real world.
The show is over for the day. The young Valentina retrieves an “Ideal Home” magazine from a box and surreptitiously admires photos of ordinary families. Apparently, the girl just wants simple earthly happiness. So why can’t the old wizard give his daughter her freedom? Dr.
Parnassus is visited by an old acquaintance of his. It is the devil, whom everyone calls Mr Nick. With wicked laughter, he reminds Parnassus that Valentina will be sixteen years old in three days.
According to their long-standing pact, the old man will have to give his daughter to Mr Nick on that day. Valentina herself has no idea of this yet. Only Parnassus’s assistant, a dwarf named Percy, is aware of the situation.
He tries to support the old man: The theatre travels to another town. Along the way, a troupe actor named Anton suggests that Valentina run away. The guy has been in love with her for a long time and is ready to do anything for her. But the girl does not return his love and climbs inside the wagon to her father.
The latter gets drunk out of grief and is about to tell Valentina an important story. It turns out that Parnassus is over a thousand years old. Many centuries ago, he was a mere mortal monk in a distant monastery. Parnassus taught his followers to believe in miracles.
But one day the devil came to him and offered to make a wager. The old man would win if he attracted twelve followers. He succeeded. And what did he receive from the devil as a prize? But now such a life seems to Parnassus more like eternal torment.
On that occasion, Mr Nick deliberately gave in and let him win in order to drag the old man into a host of other wagers. Parnassus fails to tell his daughter which ones because the wagon stops abruptly. They pass over a river, and Anton notices the reflection of a dancing man in the water.
Valentina takes a closer look and realizes that someone is hanging under the bridge. The two go descend to get the unfortunate man and rescue him. The man is barely alive, thanks only to a tube inserted down his throat. There are Masonic symbols on his forehead.
They are watched from afar by the devil. The next morning the poor man wakes up. He does not remember his name or anything about himself. All the man remembers is a blow to the head and this morning.
Anton does not want the stranger to stay with the troupe, but Valentina clearly likes the stranger. Parnassus wakes up with a hangover and examines the man. The old man recognizes the symbols on the guy’s forehead and belongings and decides that the newcomer was sent by Mr Nick.
This means the devil offers a new wager and is ready to leave Valentina alone. Overjoyed, Parnassus allows the stranger to become a member of the troupe. Later that evening, the theater arrives at a new location. The newcomer tries on a mask and flirts with Valentina.
This terribly infuriates the lovesick Anton. It soon turns out that Parnassus is once again drunk and unable to start meditating to create the Imaginarium. The deceived audience is left with nothing, and the theatre moves on. While Dr.
Parnassus is suffering from a headache, the devil comes to him. He has nothing to do with the stranger from under the bridge. But he informs him that his name is Tony Shepard and he was a famous philanthropist. Mr.
Nick offers a new bet. If the old man collects five souls before the devil does, Valentine stays in the theatre. He has two days before the girl’s birthday. Parnassus is not entirely satisfied with such difficult terms: But to save his daughter, he is forced to agree.
Now the troupe will have to lure the five men into the Imaginarium and convince them to go to the bright side, that is, to climb the mountain. For this, Parnassus could be aided by the stranger. Meanwhile, Tony himself finds a newspaper with news about himself. It reads that he is the disgraced head of a children’s fund.
While nobody is looking, Tony throws the paper into the fire. Apparently, he doesn’t have such serious memory lapses and just doesn’t want to reveal his identity to the troupe. But Parnassus has no idea and counts on Tony for help. To that end, the old man acts out a performance and pretends to have seen the man’s past life.
He states his name and tells him that he has been involved in charity work. Tony happily joins in the game and hides the fact that there is nothing wrong with his memory. In the evening, the show begins. Tony subtly and intriguingly lures visitors into the Imaginarium.
Meanwhile, the jealous Anton wants to outwit his rival, so he also tries to be persuasive. He grabs one client and forcibly shoves her into the mirror. Along the way, he knocks Dr Parnassus out of his chair, and the old man loses consciousness.
Without Parnassus’s involvement, the adventure doesn’t begin. The assembled crowd screams and demands the return of the girl from the mirror. To avoid unnecessary trouble, Percy the dwarf fires a shotgun, and the frightened horses drive the wagon out of the square. Tony barely manages to jump in.
The terrified customer is thrown into a dumpster. After pulling away, the troupe tries to rebuild the scene. Everyone is depressed over this evening’s debacle, and less and less time remains to win the bet. Tony tries to find out from the drunken Anton what exactly is happening to people in the Imaginarium.
But this is impossible to describe. By using his magic, Dr Parnassus doesn’t want to rule the world, he’s just trying to awaken people’s faith in miracles. To win souls to his side means for him to teach them to dream and strive for the light.
But Tony is not an expert in delicate matters and is not particularly insightful to the old man’s ideas. Parnassus himself lies in his room upset. He decides to tell his daughter the rest of his story. Having become immortal, he had lived for many years useless, begging on the street.
And suddenly he saw the woman of his dreams, whom he fell in love with at first sight. But the old man was already a thousand years old, how could he attract a young lady? Then Parnassus met the devil again. They made a new wager. Mr.
Nick made Parnassus mortal again and gave him back his youth and strength. The enamoured man succeeded in winning the girl’s heart. But the payment was high. The old man does not yet tell the real cost of that wager.
And Valentina does not know what danger awaits her. Valentina’s birthday comes around. Tony flirts with her and tries to kiss her. But they are interrupted by Parnassus.
To ease the tension, the resourceful Tony suggests changing the style and format of the show. This would help attract more customers. The old man consults his daughter for the first time and decides to trust Tony. But only Anton has money saved up for renovation.
And he is just about to run away from the troupe after yesterday’s failure. Valentina convinces the boy to stay and fund the redesign of the theatre. By nightfall, the troupe turns their boring show into a magic show. Thanks to Tony’s natural charm, he manages to attract a crowd of customers.
They can pay after an adventure in the Imaginarium. So, the guy sets off the first client into the looking glass and goes after her. Both of them find themselves in a ladies’ paradise with lots of shoes, jewellery and perfume. Tony’s face changes slightly to suit the customer’s tastes.
Suddenly, Nick shows up in the Imaginarium and tries to lure the woman down the path of debauchery in order to take possession of her soul. But Tony convinces her to choose the lighter path. Soon the woman emerges from the Imaginarium. She has experienced the light and is now completely happy.
The woman writes a check to the troupe and suggests that they indicate the amount themselves, as well as give away all of her jewellery. The first client’s example is followed by three other women. They all choose to side with Dr Parnassus and return enlightened.
The old man needs only one more soul to win. But then four members of the mafia drive up to the theatre. They spot Tony on the stage. The guy notices them too and runs away from them into the Imaginarium, and the bandits follow him.
The looking-glass changes, and you can now see stairs reaching the sky. Tony, whose face has changed again, climbs up one of them. Because there are so many people in the Imaginarium, their fantasies get mixed up. Tony sees his face on magazine covers and crawls toward fame.
But the bandits aren’t far behind either. They chase the guy for quite a while. Soon he falls right into the arms of Anton, who tries to save him. But the mafia is getting close.
It turns out that it was these men who tried to get rid of Tony under the bridge. They are about to finally finish Tony off because of stealing their money. The bandits almost manage to finish the job, but then Parnassus’ magic takes over. At first, the gangsters agree to switch to the good side and become police officers.
But suddenly they change their minds and choose a simpler way, hiding under the skirt of a giant woman. It turns out to be a trap prepared by the devil. He sets off an explosion and eliminates the bandits. This is how he manages to get his hands on the four souls.
The rescued Tony runs to Anton and asks him to show him where the ladders to the sky are. During the previous climb, the guy imagined he was great and wants to get that feeling back. But instead, Anton asks why the bandits were talking about stolen money. Turns out Tony is a thief, and a liar, and he has no amnesia.
The guy confesses that he really did take money from these people for the children’s fund. But he didn’t know they were thugs who were just laundering money. Anton is willing to believe him. But suddenly Tony asks again about the stairs to the clouds.
So, he keeps dreaming of fame and repenting insincerely even in this moment. Anton gets out of the Imaginarium and locks the door to the wagon. Then he advises his friends not to trust Tony. The devil comes to Parnassus again.
It’s only an hour until midnight, and both have four souls on the books. Valentina hears them talking and demands that her father tell her the whole truth. Parnassus, having gotten younger, married the woman of his dreams. The couple was happy.
And then, the woman got pregnant and gave birth to Valentina. But the woman did not survive the birth. It turned out that the devil made the man mortal in exchange for his future child. Now, according to the terms of his agreement with the devil, Parnassus must give him Valentina on the day of her sixteenth birthday.
The girl cannot believe what she is hearing. Parnassus assures her that the new bet can fix everything. But Valentina can’t accept that her father is dealing with the devil and she’s just a bet in a game. The girl runs away, and Anton rushes after her.
Percy says that telling the truth was a bad idea. The old man is angry and throws his faithful assistant out. Left alone, he bashes himself on the head. Tony, having heard everything, prepares the theatre for a new performance, for there is still time to save Valentina.
The guy is willing to become the fifth soul himself, and in return, he asks Parnassus to teach him the secrets of his magic. The old man falls into a trance and is ready to let Tony into the Imaginarium. Meanwhile, Valentina and Anton return. The girl is furious because the whole world is a lie.
And Anton finds the newspaper, which says that Tony has been selling human organs. He wants to keep Valentina away from the criminal, but Tony forcibly pushes the girl into the Imaginarium and goes after her. Here they float peacefully in a boat. Tony’s face changes again.
He now looks like the man in Valentina’s favourite magazine. The girl thinks everything has worked out perfectly and decides to get close to Tony. That evening she confesses her love to the guy and talks about marriage and children. Tony becomes uncomfortable.
Suddenly they hear a little girl crying on the shore. Tony tries to forcefully calm the child. But then the reporters show up, and the guy abruptly starts smiling for the camera… The imagination immediately takes Tony to a banquet hall.
Here he is the head of the largest children’s charity fund, surrounded by journalists, while Valentina is his wife. Even the president comes to the meeting and gives a complimentary speech about Tony’s work. It is only Anton’s voice that spoils the whole image of success. The guy has infiltrated Tony’s imagination in the form of a child and wants Valentina to know the truth about the villain and his organ trafficking of children from third-world countries.
Tony loses his temper and fights, Anton. Valentina tries to stand up for him but gets a slap as well. Anton continues to fight and runs out to the podium, where the president is giving a speech. Tony catches up with him and continues to hit him in front of the crowd.
The people in the audience are outraged and chase after the criminal. The festive hall begins to crack and fall apart, as does Tony’s dream of greatness. The enraged crowd chases after him. Someone accidentally pushes Anton off a cliff.
Valentina rushes to his aid and tries to pull the boy up. But she is not strong enough. At the last moment, Anton confesses his love for her and falls into the abyss. Tony no longer separates reality from imagination and lashes out at Valentina.
Parnassus can’t bear this and enters his fantasy to save his daughter. But the old man is knocked down and trampled by the crowd. Valentina thinks that her father can no longer be saved. So she runs like a lunatic through the remnants of the fantasy, crying.
And so she runs to the place where two doors await her, one to heaven and one to hell. Valentina blames herself for everything that has happened and almost dashes into hell. But then Mr Nick shows up and tries to deter her from that decision.
According to the deal, Valentina can only be a prize in this game, not a pawn. Even the devil honours the terms of the wager. Still, the girl runs away to hell. But Nick isn’t interested in winning like that, so he comes to Parnassus and offers to change the terms of the bet again.
The devil is willing to let Valentina go if Parnassus deals with Tony. It turns out that the devil has been trying to get rid of him for years, but someone always saved him. Parnassus accepts the offer. Meanwhile, Tony runs from the frantic crowd to the top of a mountain.
There are gallows standing there, but that doesn’t scare him. He knows that if he swallows a special tube, the hanging can be survived. However, Parnassus shows up next to Tony and takes the tube away from him. The old man offers the guy a choice between two tubes.
One of them will break and Tony will perish, and the other will be just fine. In order to convince the guy to take one of the tubes, Parnassus swallows it and shows him the right option by his example. Meanwhile, the enraged mob gets closer and closer. Tony takes the tube from the old man and swallows it.
The crowd ropes the guy in, and then Parnassus lets him know that Tony has the wrong tube. This is the last thing the guy sees in his life. Mr. Nick is satisfied with the result but doesn’t know where Valentina has gone.
After all, she is now free of the devil and could have escaped anywhere. For several years, Dr Parnassus wanders the imaginary world, hoping to find his lost daughter. In the end, he becomes exhausted and ends up an ordinary beggar.
One day, a girl with the same bracelet on her leg as Valentina wore walks past him. The wretched old man runs after the girl through the crowd and sees her enter a restaurant. It is Valentina. She has married Anton and they have a daughter.
The family has a carefree lunch at the restaurant. This is when Dr Parnassus’s faithful assistant Percy returns. He advises against meeting his granddaughter in such a hideous state.
Instead, Percy and Parnassus begin selling toy theatres on the street based on the Imaginarium. Suddenly Nick shows up next to them and hints at a new bet. But now Percy is in charge. He forbids the reckless Dr.
Parnassus to distract himself from his work. What kind of world would you find yourself in in the Imaginarium? Share your thoughts in the comments.