Shame demonstrates the futility of escaping the consequences of war. In 1971, the Rosenbergs, Jan (Max von Sydow) and Eva (Liv Ullmann), have retreated to an island off the coast of their unnamed country, which is embroiled in a civil conflict.
Trained and employed as classical violinists, they make a modest living raising and selling lingonberries, though they continue to play their instruments. When a plane carrying soldiers crashes on the island, Jan and Eva see their lives changed in an instant as soldiers from both sides of the conflict overrun the island and fighting breaks out.
The couple is arrested and charged with collaborating with the rebel forces. Colonel Jacobi (Gunnar Bjornstrand), an old friend of the couple, is in charge of the army defending the island, and he agrees to have the couple released if Eva will have sex with him.
Shortly after Jan learns of Eva's betrayal, rebel forces gain the upper hand and order Jan to execute Jacobi, which he readily agrees to do. Not sure which side is safe to throw in with, the couple agree to leave on an early morning boat for another island, which is presumably sheltered from the conflict.