In flashback, David is shown to be the wealthy owner of a large publishing firm in New York City which he inherited from his father, leaving its regular duties to his father's trusted associates. David is introduced to Sofia Serrano by his best friend, author Brian Shelby at a party. David and Sofia spend a night together talking and fall in love. David's lover at the time, Julie Gianni, is sitting in her car when David leaves Sofia's flat. David eventually gets into Julianna's car, and she attempts to kill herself and David in a car crash. Julie dies but David survives, his face grotesquely disfigured, leading him to wear a mask to hide the injuries. With no hope of repairing the damage through plastic surgery, David cannot come to grips with the idea of wearing the mask for the rest of his life. On a night out with Sofia and Brian, David gets hopelessly drunk and Sofia and Brian leave him to wallow in the street outside.
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