After Austro-Hungary has announced war on Serbia, two blood brothers from Leskovac, Cone and Dine, have joined the Serbian army. Not long before that, Cone has asked for Zorka’s hand from her father and his proprietor Živko. While Dine helped his family in running a small cinema in a tavern called “Pariz”. Both are now deserting their lives and going to the Great War.
Four years have passed and Dine has returns to Leskovac. Since no one has heard anything about Cone for years, Zorka recently got engaged with Aćim Prokić from Nis. A capable and refined merchant who can easily cover the debts Zorka’s father Živko has acquired since their stock-room caught fire. Under the influence of the Prokić family and Zorka’s family as well, Cone’s funeral is organized. Empty coffin is laid in the ground while Zorka and Cone’s blood brother say their last goodbyes.
Dine is trying to revive and modernize the cinema, whereby he needs to deal with the audience asking for fresh movies and his father Trajko, a thrifty barkeeper who believes that you cannot live from cinema ticket sales alone.
After the funeral some time has passed and Dine goes to visit Cone’s grave where he unexpectedly runs into the ‘deceased’ – Cone has just returned to Leskovac and went to visit his mother’s grave to light a candle where he stunned came across a cross with his name on it. Dine explains that Zorka got engaged to Prokić while Cone reveals his war story to his blood brother. Cone survived the sinking of a British ship when he suffered major injuries and amnesia. He recuperated in an English hospital after which he learned the weaving craft from one of his war buddies.
The next day, Cone accompanied by Dine, goes to visit Zorka and afterwards her father Živko to remind him of a promise he gave before war, Zorka’s hand. Živko decisively tells him that was while he was alive, and now “he is buried in the grave”. Cone leaves disappointed but reveals to Cone that he does not plan to give up on Zorka and is planning to become rich.
While Dine manages to modernize his cinema and attract audience with unique street performances, he also records and shows the first short documentary films. In the meantime, Cone has been offered help from Mita. Proprietor Mita has at his disposal money and connections with other proprietors in Leskovac. He senses that Aćim Prokić is getting rich on his detriment, and now he wants to help young and energetic Cone in his intension to build a modern textile factory and to transform a small town on the Hisar Hill into a “Serbian Manchester”.
To succeed in his intensions, Cone needs to transport a bold group of young people from Leskovac over the Bulgarian border where they would buyout a descending textile factory and secretly carry it over the boarder to Leskovac. The whole action would needs to be conducted in complete secrecy. Because Aćim Prokić is closely watching their every move and considers this ordeal a competition with Mita and Cone for Zorka’s hand.
Cone takes his group over the border. In the night they almost fell into the hands of Bulgarian boarder control, but it turned out that the officers recognized them after spending most of their time in a brothel house in Leskovac instead on the front during the Great War. Cone and his group manage to transport a part of the factory to Leskovac with the help from Mita and other proprietors who have invested in the project. Dine is now able to record the opening of a modern textile factory in Leskovac. It seems as Cone was on the verge of a great business success, but the factory unexpectedly burns in fire. Cone ends up being arrested under the false accusations for fraud and starting fire. Dine’s father, who has invested a lot in the factory, dies before telling his son where the rest of his savings have been hidden.
Deceit has been revealed and Cone is let out of jail, but it seems he no longer can save the idea of “Serbian Manchester” since Mita and other proprietors in Leskovac no longer have means to invest in the factory renovation. In the meantime, Aćim Prokić takes advantage of the situation and turns indebted proprietors into his unwilling servants by giving them loans. Dine manages to fine his father’s legacy. Trajko, a thrifty barkeeper of “Pariz” has left behind not only money but a number of gold coins hidden behind one of the tavern walls. At the same time, Zorka receives evidence that her fiancé, Aćim Prokić, has not only filed a false charge against Cone using his connections in Nis, but also organized the burning of her father’s stock room and Cone’s factory.
Dine suggest a plan, similar to the one of his street performances that were organized during the premiers in his cinema. Instead of getting married to Zorka, Aćim Prokić is getting married with the law, after that Zorka can finally go back to Cone. With the money Dine inherited from his father Trjko, Cone open the textile factory again.
Leskovac as a “Serbian Manchester” finally reaches its golden age.
Than a new World War begins, Cone’s war buddy who once taught him the weaving craft, throws the first allied bomb on Leskovac.